Carl McHugh admits he still cannot sleep because of the buzz of slaying Wigan.

The Irish teenager produced a heroic performance for City at the DW Stadium in only his fourth senior game.

McHugh will continue his central-defensive partnership with Rory McArdle at Northampton tomorrow as the Bantams look to maintain their unbeaten run in knock-out competitions by making a winning start in the FA Cup.

Phil Parkinson is determined to get feet back on the ground after the euphoria of Tuesday night – and the dazzling prospect of facing Arsenal.

But it is going to take a while before the 19-year-old can return to business as usual.

McHugh said: “It’s crazy, I just can’t believe it. Winning at Wigan like that was crazy and then to get Arsenal in the quarter-finals – it’s what you dream of as a kid.

“That’s why you go home and train hard and make the sacrifices to become a footballer. That’s why I moved across here from Ireland and now it’s all worthwhile.

“Tuesday night was mental. It was beyond your wildest dreams – there’s no way I could sleep after that. In fact, I won’t be able to sleep for days now!”

Phil Parkinson heaped praise on the rookie, who had huge boots to fill following the season-ending injury to Luke Oliver. The City boss is in the market for a replacement but was thrilled with the way McHugh coped from being thrown in the deep end.

He said: “Olly being out is a massive blow. He’s been outstanding as a person and a player since I’ve been at the club.

“He’s had a hip problem for most of the season and played when he probably shouldn’t have done but he’s just carried on.

“But I had confidence in young Carl and he gave a top-class performance the other night.

“Wigan give you big problems with their movement and pull people in holes. It was all about communication at the back and staying disciplined and I really thought he did that.”

With no Andrew Davies either, City’s settled back four has been shaken up by necessity. But McHugh and right back Stephen Darby both demonstrated at Wigan that they are more than adequate back-up.

McHugh added: “We train together a lot anyway and it’s a tight-knit squad. It is a good group of players here even when you go past the first 11.

“The team spirit is very strong and we showed that. There were a few close calls but to keep a clean sheet for 120 minutes against a Premier League team was brilliant.

“I don’t have much experience so to go to a stadium like that was always going to be a massive test. But we’re a good team and I think I acquitted myself pretty well.”

McHugh had no urge to be a hero from the penalty spot. Instead he was a helpless spectator from the halfway line as City tucked away their spot-kicks in the shoot-out with nerves of steel.

He said: “It was just a haze watching it, everything was totally surreal. But I just had this good feeling that we’d do it.

“It was a huge game for me personally because I haven’t played much football this year. And I always thought it was going to be our night.”