Alex Neil knows just how hard a game Stoke City will have when Stevenage come to town - because of the win over Leyton Orient rather than the success at Aston Villa.

Boro advanced to the fourth-round meeting in the Potteries with a never-to-be forgotten 2-1 success at Villa Park.

However, what caught the Potters manager's eye almost as much was the 3-0 win last time out against Orient, Boro moving to within two points of the League Two leaders after the victory at the Lamex.

And that performance has steeled himself for the battle on Sunday.

He said: "I don't think any game is ever a given at this level.

"What we have to remember is we’re playing a team at the top of their division, that is really confident and that momentum, irrespective of the division you’re in, always has a big part to play. 

"Steve has done a great job there. We know they're going to come here and fancy their chances and they'll give it everything they've got. 

"They're a hard team to beat. 

"They went and beat Aston Villa and what they then did, which I thought was more impressive, was they went and beat Leyton Orient. 

"What generally happens is when you get a really good result, there's normally a little lull because everyone thinks 'oh, we're a really good team' and they start trying to complicate things and not have the determination they did in the cup game.

"They didn’t, they went and backed it up so in that respect you can see the mentality they've got.

"We're going to have to be ready for this game."