Roeder still believes in old magic of the FA Cup

CHRIS LAKEY Glenn Roeder says he remains in love with the FA Cup - and that the world's oldest knockout competition is not just the play thing of the rich and famous.


Glenn Roeder says he remains in love with the FA Cup - and that the world's oldest knockout competition is not just the play thing of the rich and famous.

The City boss waded into the argument over the merits of the competition yesterday, with one word summing up his view of those that say it has lost its appeal - "rubbish".

As Premiership managers across the country prepare to send out second string teams, Roeder has vowed to name his strongest line-up for this afternoon's third round visit of League Two strugglers Bury.

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Reading's Steve Coppell says he will made nine changes for his team's tie at Spurs, while his striker Dave Kitson sparked a furious reaction when he said he "didn't give a damn" about the FA Cup, because his side would not win it.

And while Roeder has lost the services of Jimmy Smith and Ched Evans this afternoon, he insisted it will be the best 11 players who start.

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"I think the people who don't, it is their prerogative, but I think they are cheapening the competition, and that includes the other cup, which changes its name so often, the Carling Cup," Roeder said.

The comments coming out of Reading clearly touched a nerve with Roeder.

"That is an excuse for getting beat," he said.

"They might need a little bit more luck in the draw and obviously fate plays a hand there that you play the right teams at home through to the semi-final, but Reading have got as good a chance as anybody, they are a very good team Reading."

Roeder went to the final as a player, and captain in 1982 when his QPR side drew 1-1 with Spurs - although suspension ruled him out of the replay, which Spurs won 1-0.

"It was a dream that was fulfilled," he said. "I don't know about foreign players, I don't know if they understand the importance of the FA Cup, but to an English boy, to a little boy watching an FA Cup final when you are seven, eight years old and you want to be a footballer, you dream of what it would be like to stand on the turf at Wembley and play in a cup final yourself.

"I fulfilled that dream - unfortunately I didn't do it more than just once, but on the pyramid of people who have done it you are at the very top, because 99pc of the players don't achieve it.

"It is a great feeling, absolutely magnificent - and we were a Championship team that year and I even believe with the luck of the draw even a Championship team can still get to the final, I don't see why not."

Today, it seems, is a perfect day for Roeder.

"I am so pleased we are at home in the third round of the FA Cup - it's a huge day in the football calendar," he said. "I got what I asked for, a home draw, and to be the favourites, which we are.

"I don't like being the underdog - underdog means you are not as good as the opposition you are playing against and if you win you get a pat on the back and if you lose it is the old sob story, 'oh well you weren't mean to'.

"Any mug can be an underdog, that is why I like champions in all sports, because they are the favourites in the beginning and they are expected to win, and most times they do win and that's why they are champions.

"It is a much bigger pressure being a favourite than it is being an underdog.

"Underdogs are normally losers."

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