Malky's Cup Magic

FA CUP magic is alive and well in the Mackay household this weekend, as the Third Round draw pits West Ham against his old club Norwich City at Upton Park.

The Scotland defender's powerful displays helped the Canaries into the Premiership last season, and after 243 appearances for the Carrow Road side Malky is looking forward to coming up against his old teammates for the first time.

"It's a great tie for the Club," said Malky. "The visit of a Premiership team will ensure an enthusiastic crowd and it's a great chance to test ourselves against top-flight opposition.

"Of course, the tie is extra-special for myself as well and it'll give me the perfect opportunity to say goodbye to the Norwich fans.

"I didn't really get the chance before I left, so hopefully I'll get a good reception from them. I've still got a lot of friends up there who will be coming down for the game and it'll be great to welcome them to Upton Park.

"It was certainly a surprise to see us drawn against Norwich. You come to a new club and out of fifty or so teams in the hat you get drawn at home to your old team. But it should be a smashing game and I'm certainly looking forward to it."

Malky won't be letting sentiment cloud his thoughts on matchday, though, as the Hammers go in search of a Premiership scalp to lay beside that of Wolves, who were dumped out of the competition by Alan Pardew's men last season.

"It doesn't matter what the game is or who it's against," he explained, "you still have the same desire to beat the side in front of you.

"Despite Norwich's promotion, I think we are on a par with them in terms of quality. They will have vital Premiership experience now, which will certainly come into play, but I'm sure it'll be a very evenly contested game.

"Norwich certainly won't view this as a comfortable tie. They'll go into the game as favourites, but there isn't a huge amount to choose between the two sides, so the pressure will be on them to perform well.

"To a small extent, they'll be less pressure on us as the lower League team, but we remain very confident that we can put in a good performance and win through to the next round."

For the big clubs, the Third Round of the FA Cup comes at the end of a hectic holiday schedule, which strains playing squads to the limit. And although Alan Pardew's team selection may reflect the wounds of a punishing New Year schedule, Malky insists that reaching the Fourth Round is still upper most in the team's mind.

"The FA Cup is a fantastic tournament," he exclaimed, "one of the best competition's of it's kind in the world, and we'll be going all out to win and go through to the next round.

"It has been a very tough schedule over the last couple of weeks and we are carrying a few injuries going into the game.

"But that in no way reflects on our determination to go through to the next round. They'll be a few changes to the side and possibly the chance for some of the younger players to come into the team and show what they can do.

"Again, it is that kind of atmosphere and opportunity that the FA Cup is all about, and whatever personnel go out on Saturday, they'll be focused on giving nothing but their best for the team.

"It should be a terrific atmosphere at Upton Park and hopefully a memorable cup-tie."