Matt Murray and George Ndah believe ‘the Molineux factor’ can be Wolves’ 12th man to topple Manchester United.
A sold-out Molineux will be rocking to possibly the biggest crowd since 40,524 watched the 3-1 FA Cup quarter-final replay win against Middlesbrough in 1981 when Manchester United come to town for tonight’s sixth round tie.
Both Murray and Ndah played in the epic Cup ties in 2002-03 when then Championship side Wolves beat Newcastle from the Premier League and Leicester at Molineux, 3-2 and 4-1 respectively.
The pair remember how much the din of the crowd gave them the edge on those occasions and they believe it could make a difference against United.
“The fans are absolutely awesome. Going to Molineux will all the pyrotechnics, it’s a great place,” said Murray.
“When you’re out there, I can’t explain how that noise helps you. For me, in goal, I felt I could jump higher than anyone and you into those challenges knowing you can win them, and that’s where home advantage does count.
“The United players won’t be intimidated because they know what it’s about, but they will be wanting to silence the crowd.
“The longer it goes on without United scoring, or the longer we’ve got something to protect, the more the fans will be behind us, because they always are, and you will see it.
“It will be a difficult, close game, but I honestly believe we can do it.
“There’s no replay – it’s got to be settled on the day, so that’s another factor, and if it goes to penalties, those fans behind the goal will be sucking the Wolves penalties in and blowing the United ones out!”
Ndah scored the winner as Wolves came from behind to beat Alan Shearer’s Magpies then bagged a brace in the 4-1 romp over Leicester.
The Londoner describes the ‘electric’ feel a buzzing Molineux gave him.
“I can’t explain it, it’s fantastic, especially the Newcastle game,” he said. “They were Premier League, we were Championship and they had Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy – top, top players.
“So for us to win the game the way we did was brilliant, and the fans really played their part. The place was electric and I will never forget that day.
“That game is embedded in my heart. Newcastle came back into it and the Wolves fans became the 12th man, they lifted us and they definitely contributed to us winning that game, for sure.”
Wolves are seventh in the Premier League and already on a record points total so safe for next season.
Murray believes all Wolves fans would sacrifice that spot if it meant reaching their first FA Cup final since Bill Slater last lifted the trophy for the club way back in 1960.
“This is a time where we have a chance. We’re going to stay up and it would be brilliant if we could finish in the top seven,” he added.
“I think everyone would say they would take wherever we finish now if we could continue that Cup run.
“There is such a clamour for Wolves to be successful and when we got to this stage of the competition last time, we were trying to get out of the Championship but we still went for it and lost to Southampton unfortunately.
“The less said about that, the better, and I didn’t have the best of games.”
Murray believes Wolves impressive record against the top six will be repeated and they can upset the odds and beat United.
“Wolves will go all out for the win – they were fantastic at Old Trafford earlier this season and have performed great against these top six sides,” he stressed.
“Was I a little disappointed when United came out of the hat? Yes, I wanted Man City to play Man U and then we could have taken whoever won.
“But whoever we face, it’s going to be difficult – Shrewsbury didn’t make it easy.”
Murray believes Nuno’s influence is the key; the head coach has convinced the players they can win these high-profile games.
“We’re at home, it’s going to be tough, but I do believe we can get the right result, and that’s what is so good about Nuno has done,” he said.
“We’re now going into these games really believing we can win them. It’s going to be difficult, but if you’re going to win the Cup, you’ve got to beat these teams, and I would love us to go all the way.”
Murray’s conviction comes from his belief that Nuno has assembled the finest Wolves side he has witnessed.
“I would say Manchester United are still a great side in great form, but this is the strongest Wolves team I have ever seen,” he insisted.
“They’re taking on these top sides; they did brilliantly at home to Manchester City and away at Manchester United and Arsenal, beat Chelsea at home and drew with them away, won at Tottenham and ran them close at home, so they certainly won’t go into it with any fear.”
Ndah added: “We should have beaten them at Old Trafford. I know that was under Jose Mourinho, so there was a different feel about United, but it’s still the same players.
“Wolves shouldn’t fear anybody because they have got quality players, a quality manager, quality staff and they’re that good, they can beat anybody on their day.”