Do Pompey need and want a Cup run? You bet
By Site reporter
Friday 07 Jan 2011 21:52:00
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Some managers think it's a mere distraction to the job of finishing as high up their league as they can. Some players think the same. But you won't find too many fans who don't want their team to go on a run in the FA Cup.

And that's as true for Pompey fans, who have had five trips to Wembley in less than three years, as it is for the likes of supporters of Brighton, who have to go back a generation to recall their last Cup final.


And so the 1,000 or so Blues fans who can be squeezed into the Withdean on Saturday afternoon will not be doing a 'Hawthorns 2005' and cheering the home team on. They want another run - and so, it seems, does Steve Cotterill.

He admits more games in the Cup could present problems for a squad as thin as his but says they'll deal with that if they have to - after first dealing with the business of getting through.

Brighton, too, must have mixed feelings about the competition - they lead League One and have already suffered a dip in form that some have put down to having to play four games to get this far in the FA Cup.

Cotterill touched on his limited options in looking forward to the trip along the A27 to East Sussex and said: 'The number of players we have available means we will not be making that many changes. With Nadir Ciftci, Tom Kilbey and Hermann Hreidarsson we’ve probably got 14 or 15. One or two have got knocks but hopefully they’ll be all right.

'Dave Kitson got his foot stamped on against Hull and hasn’t trained since so we’ll have to see how he is. We won’t have Ricardo Rocha – he came off with a sore hamstring against Hull and we’re waiting for the results of a scan.

'It’s been difficult to get a settled back four all season. We’ve had quite a few disruptions with injuries and suspensions and I don’t envisage us having a settled back four by the end of the season.

'This club has had a good run in the FA Cup lately so let’s hope that continues. I would love a cup run, but it does bring fatigue, injuries and suspensions that we would have to deal with further down the line. But let’s deal with this game first.'

Liam Lawrence has been vocal in his criticism of Pompey this week - both in terms of the defending that cost them three points against Hull and in the way they have left Michael Brown and Richard Hughes sidelined by contract disputes - but says the Brighton game could get the Blues moving on another good run of results.

He said: 'It's going to be very, very tough but we need games like this. The last thing we want to do is go there and lose because I know it's a bit of a local thing as well with some of the supporters. Make no mistake, we will be going there to win the game. I know some people might say it's getting in the way of the league but not to me.

'We need games like this to maybe get us a win and trigger us off again. The league is my priority but obviously the FA Cup is an amazing competition and I love playing in it. It has got a great atmosphere and a great tradition, and this club has been amazing in it in the past few years. With this club and the history we have got with the FA Cup, you cannot ever say it is a distraction.'

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