Gerhard Struber insists Barnsley’s FA Cup trip to Crewe Alexandra on Sunday will be ‘very difficult’ but he is expecting to advance to the fourth round and hopefully draw a Premier League giant. 

Crewe are third in League Two while the Reds are second-bottom in the Championship. Struber said: “We have a very very interesting game. It is very very difficult game for us. We are recovering the players’ bodies and minds then tomorrow we will talk about the matchplan. I hope we have the right energy because we have played so many games in the last days.

“For Crewe Alexandra, I think this is the game of the year but we need big focus against them. They play good football, not with long balls but with good passing and possession. We hope to break their lines.

“Always in the cup it is a big challenge when you play against a smaller team. You need always a good attitude. This is a test for my team’s character, mentality and attitude. It is clear we are the big favourites but we need to show that in every second of the game. We need to be very professional. I want to see if the boys can handle this situation. We want to show the body language from the first second that we want to win the game. 

“The FA Cup is a big competition and, when we will win which I think we will with a big performance, maybe we get a very big opponent in the next round. This is a very big motivation for me, my staff and the players so it is our duty to give everything we can against Crewe. Our next game is important in any competition, a win would be important for our challenge in the league.”

Asked if he will make changes to the team in Barnsley’s fifth match in 15 days, Struber said: “I am not sure but I think I will. We have to change some players but not too much. I hope we find the best first 11. I think we will give an opportunity to players who have not been involved in the league, but there will be other players who have been playing in the league who play at Crewe.”

Aiden Marsh, the 16-year-old academy forward, was on the bench for the league win over QPR last month and could be involved on Sunday. Struber said: “Maybe he will be on the bench, I must see, but I think he will not be in the first 11. He is a very very interesting young player. We have a lot of good players in the under 23s but it’s important to find the right moment to play them. In a good team with good conviction, they can develop very well.”

Danish defender Mads Andersen said: “The FA Cup is well-known. We want to win, then it could be really fun to draw someone like Liverpool and beat them. We knew about the FA Cup in Denmark when I was a kid, but we would only watch it if there are very big teams playing against each other.” On Barnsley’s busy Christmas schedule, Andersen said: “It’s crazy, I like it though. We haven’t been training much just games. It has been tough and I can feel it in my body.”

Andersen said the Reds’ performance in yesterday’s loss at Derby County – who handed a debut to England’s record goal-scorer Wayne Rooney – was not what they expected. He said: “It was really disappointing. We have played really good in the last few games and everyone expected more. It would have been good to get a draw. Wayne Rooney has good quality, everybody knows him and he’s a good player.”