Doncaster Rovers v Stoke City: Conor Grant’s seven-word answer that revealed a whole lot more

Conor Grant
Conor Grant

When you ask a footballer if they can win a game of football, you only ever expect one answer.

So when Conor Grant was quizzed yesterday whether Doncaster Rovers can dump Premier League Stoke City out of the FA Cup, it does not take a genius to work out his reply.

However, the Scouser’s brilliantly short and straight-to-the-point response probably revealed a lot more than he actually thought it did.

“It is the FA Cup, so why not?”, said the 20-year-old midfielder. Grant’s reply drew smiles from the assembled media.

But the on-loan Everton youngster was not being purposefully abrupt or cheeky. He was saying it as it is. And not just that.

In Grant’s short career in England and at Rovers, he has become something of the club’s lucky FA Cup omen.

He made his first ever appearance in the competition in the first round win over Stalybridge Celtic.

He then scored twice - including a stupendous strike from distance - in the come-from-behind victory at Cambridge United in the second round.

Grant’s answer showcased an innocence and exuberance of youth that, on the pitch, has made him a firm fans’ favourite since he became Darren Ferguson’s first new face through the door.

It also revealed splendidly the loveable affection that Grant has for the FA Cup. He was born in the same year that Everton won it, 1995, don’t you know?

Tomorrow Grant has the opportunity to gauge his progress against Premier League opposition. It’s fair to say he’s champing at the bit, but in very typically level-headed fashion, the team comes first.

“In my short career so far, the FA Cup’s definitely been a highlight,” he said.

“I had a good game at Cambridge in the last round and I want to take that into Saturday.

“But it’s more important that the team perform well.

“Last time we were here we didn’t play as well as we can do in front of the fans so it’s important we give a good account of ourselves and test ourselves against quality opposition.

“I got a massive buzz playing in the first two rounds,” he added.

“I’m sure it’ll be an even bigger buzz on Saturday.

“We see their players week in week out on Match of the Day so there’s an extra incentive there, but at the end of the day it’s a football match. We want to play well and win the game.

“Because we’re playing against Premier League opposition they’re going to keep the ball really well. It’s up to us to be patient and get a good shape.

“They will have the ball a lot at times but it’s up to us to keep it when we win it back and try and counter on them.”