THE FA Cup psychological battle has started already - and that's only in the stands!

Burnley's third-round clash at Derby County has certainly got feelings running high, thanks to Lancashire Evening Telegraph columnist Steve Cummings.

With two weeks to go to the tie at Pride Park, Cummings has rattled a few feathers in Derby with his response to last weekend's draw.

Writing in his Tuesday column 'Cummings and Goings' in this paper, Cummings claims a trip to Derby hardly sets the pulses racing.

That piece was picked up by the Derby website and fans urged to make their own feelings known.

He wrote: "There is no glitz, no glamour, no superstars, no stroppy prima donnas. Instead there is Tony Dorigo.

"In fact, casting one's eye over the Rams' team-sheet the only remotely diverting point of interest would appear to be manager Jim 'Bald Eagle' Smith's attempts to assemble not so much a team of world-beaters, as a squad packed with silly names.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mart Poom. Or what about the sleepy sounding Stefan Schnoor? And my personal favourite Rory Delap, who, blessed with such a fabulous moniker would surely be more at home on a Hollywood casting couch rather than hauling his sorry frame the length and breadth of Pride Park."

The response has been somewhat acerbic with the Evening Telegraph sports desk being bombarded with e-mails from irate Derby fans who have taken Cummings' comments to heart.

"Derby County fans are on the edge of their seats with the prospect of playing a classy Burnley team.

"The Burnley 11 contains names such as.. er.. um ..

"Oh well, at least it is an easy route to the 4th round," wrote one. And another said: "How, from the depths of Division Three, can you complain about Derby County having no glitz and glamour?

"First of all you are playing one of the founder members of the football league. Secondly, you have one of the best stadia in the country to visit. Then we get to the team with 12 full internationals. No glitz, no glamour?

"Ever heard of Georghe Kinkladze? If you've any knowledge of European football you'll also have heard of former AC Milan player Stefano Eranio and former Athletico Madrid midfielder Avi Nimni. As for Rory Delap, his 'sorry frame' has been rated as one of the top twenty players in the Premiership."

Cummings today appeared on a Radio Derby programme to explain that his comments had been meant in a light-hearted vein.

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