Rory McArdle has a new best buddy – Sky Sports doyen Martin Tyler.

Actually, that’s not strictly true but it’s become a running joke after commentator Tyler eulogised about McArdle’s goal in the first leg.

McArdle laughed: “I’ve played it back a few times and Martin Tyler is screaming my name! The next day my phone kept ringing with people asking if I was best mates with him.

“But that goal was right up there with anything in my career. It was such a big occasion, it was live on Sky and to score it at our end in front of 23,000 fans was unbelievable.

“It almost took the roof off when the goal went in because it was so loud.”

Both centre halves got on the scoresheet to give City a priceless 3-1 lead to take to Aston Villa tomorrow night.

McArdle still cannot believe how much room he was given to nod in the second goal.

“The ball went out wide and when I looked round, there was so much space at the front post. Even if you look back at it now, there’s two yards in the box free.

“Jonah (Gary Jones) was spot on with his delivery all night and as soon as I saw him look up, I thought it would be worth having a gamble. The gamble paid off and it landed nicely on my head.

“Then they scored, which was a bit of a downer, but fortunately Gaz put another great ball in and Carl (McHugh) somehow managed to get his head on it.

“I still don’t know how he managed it. The ball went over my head and I only saw Hans (James Hanson) and two Villa players but the next thing Carl comes flying through and the ball’s in the back of the net. If anyone had said we’d have a two-goal cushion before the game, you’d have thought they were mad.”