Regular readers will remember the frequent bugbear of mine that is our selection policy in the Cup games. Even with our resurgence in league form of late, the League Cup and the FA Cup are our only genuine chances of silverware or European qualification each season. Therefore, we should be approaching them with the greatest of seriousness.
What really disappointed me about Chris Coleman’s reign was that we got to an FA Cup fifth round tie with Manchester United in his first full season at the club but treated the competition with disdain afterwards. It’s on a par with meeting a really great girl, having a brilliant time with her and then never calling her again. So followed dismal FA Cup exits to the likes of Leyton Orient and League Cup defeats by Wycombe.
Our late defeat at Burnley this season annoyed me because I thought the message from Roy Hodgson was that we’d be taking the competition seriously this season. Perhaps he fielded a side that he thought would be good enough to win the game, but the mindset – with a few reserve or frindge players included – would surely have been different and that’s no way to face a Championship side who are really up for knocking you off your perch.
For me, the third round of the Cup is one of the great days in the football calendar. There’s the chance of an upset, which could lead to a great Cup for a team lower down the footballing pyramid, and I always dreamt of Fulham getting that far when we were lurking towards the bottom of the Third Division. Now, the motivation is different. We’ve proved we can give anybodu a game this season so we should be looking to reach at least the fifth round again.
That’s why I was pleased to hear Ray Lewington tell talksport this morning that we were going to take a strong team to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday:
“We won’t be making any changes to the side unless players are injured as we are going all out to win the FA Cup”
Jimmy Bullard should have recovered from the injury that kept him out of the Chelsea game by then and maybe a win at Hillsborough would give the boys a bit more confidence away from home in the league. Certainly scoring some goals on the road would help.