Chris wants more of the same from Town fans at FA Cup clash with Reading
Town Manager Chris Powell wants his side to start an FA Cup adventure on Saturday when Reading visit the John Smith’s Stadium for a Third Round clash.
Chris’ Charlton Athletic side reached the quarter-final stage last season and he is now keen for more of the same, having seen first-hand what a confidence booster the FA Cup can be.
“I’ve reached the FA Cup quarter-finals as a player and a Manager, the latter coming last year at Charlton before defeat to Sheffield United. That was a good run and I saw how it galvanised the football club; it certainly helped our season and captured the imagination. We were 90 minutes from Wembley,” Chris told htafc.com.
“We’re looking for the same this year; we’d like to get a cup run going. Reading are in our league and, like us, they‘ll want to get through this round and draw a big side; it would be great to get through to the next round and put our wits against a Premier League team.
“We want to do as well as we can in every competition we play in and the FA Cup is no different. We’ve seen teams like Sheffield United get to semi-finals and just because you’re in a division below the top flight doesn’t mean you can’t progress.
“I want to progress and keep going through the rounds, but we know it won’t be easy.”
That’s because Town has been drawn against a fellow Championship side in the Royals, who arrive under the stewardship of new Manager Steve Clarke.
Powell continued: “Reading arrive here with a new manager who is trying to bed his players in. They’re on the back of a good result and it will be a tough game. We’ll deal with the game on its merits and look to maintain the feel-good factor around the place that came from the last game.”
Managers often make changes to their side for the FA Cup, but Powell hinted that any switches in personnel will be kept to a minimum on Saturday:
“We have to be a little bit careful after two games in three days. Physically we looked really strong against Bolton – the staff has done a lot of work with the players and I was really pleased with that aspect – but after those games you do carry knocks.
“We may introduce one or two players, but I don’t want to make too many changes – that’s for certain. That could upset the rhythm of the team. However, one or two people who need minutes are knocking on the door and they are good enough to play at this level, so I have no qualms about that.
“I think our fans deserve to see us field as strong a team as we can in order to progress to the Fourth Round.”
Chris believes the game will come a little too soon for injured defender Joel Lynch, who is back in light training:
“Joel’s progress has been slow, but he joined in with training on Thursday. Saturday may be a bit too early, but I would envisage he should be fit for Watford (next weekend).”
With prices reduced in advance of match day and a discount for Season Card holders, Powell is hoping to see lots of home fans in for the game; freely admitting they made a big difference in Town’s last outing.
“I thought the crowd was terrific against Bolton, especially when you think about what the team had been through in those two games in 48 hours. We were really well backed at Rotherham and what happened after the 88th minute was a real blow that nobody saw coming; then, after a minute against Bolton, we went a goal down.
“In that situation it would have been quite easy to be negative, but I thought the response – from the players and the crowd – was outstanding. The fans really drove us on and we kept knocking on the door. The crowd was with us and we fully deserved the result. I’m sure they went home really happy with how things panned out.
“We’ll be looking for that same backing from the fans on Saturday. We want them to turn up and there are deals in place to encourage fans to buy in advance, which is excellent given how tough the run of festive games can be in terms of money. Hopefully they will back us, we will give them a display and we’ll be in the Fourth Round.”
Saturday also marks the opening of the 2015 January transfer window and Powell gave fans an insight into his thinking heading into the month.
“Every player has an opportunity with me and it’s up to them to take it. We have a number of players whose contracts are up in June and they will want to get regular football, whether that’s here or elsewhere. Players will have to sort out their futures in the up and coming weeks.
“Obviously I want to keep a squad together that is able to play in the games; I’ll never leave us short of numbers to carry us through to the end of the season.
“I can’t say things will happen early; that would be wrong of me. Nothing is imminent, that’s for certain. We have been looking at our situation and we’ll do our best to move some players in and out, but there’s so much to happen before that takes place. We will be clever with regards to finances and how we move players, but it’s certain that we won’t be spending lots of money. We’ll only do things in the right way for our football club.
“We’re light in the striking department now that Grant (Holt) has left, so that is an area we’ll look to bolster. As for other positions, we’ll see where it takes us.
“A lot of other managers will want similar players, especially at this very tough level. In the short-term we want players who can get results, but we’re also building for the future.”
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