Fabian hoping for good cup run

ALWAYS the bridesmaid, never the bride, poor old Fabian Wilnis is hoping this is the year he reaches a cup final.The Dutchman still winces at the memory of the defeat at St Andrews three years ago when he missed out after a late injury – and Birmingham City marched to the League Cup final.

ALWAYS the bridesmaid, never the bride, poor old Fabian Wilnis is hoping this is the year he reaches a cup final.

The Dutchman still winces at the memory of the defeat at St Andrews three years ago when he missed out after a late injury – and Birmingham City marched to the League Cup final.

He said: "It still hurts that we didn't get to the final. I injured my hamstring on the morning of the match while we were training in Birmingham and Gary Croft played.

"We had won the first leg and could have won it by more but we gave the second leg away, it was awful.


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"I would dearly love to get to a cup final, I have lost on two semi-finals, against Birmingham and also when I was with Nac Breda and we lost to Ajax, who had Pierre van Hooijdonk, in the Amstel Cup.

"I don't mind which, the League Cup or the FA Cup, but you have to be realistic and you have more chance of reaching the Carling Cup final and that is the shortest route back into Europe for us."

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The Surinam-born Dutchman, who is fast becoming as English as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, admits he found it odd at first with two cup competitions.

He said: "It is a great tradition in England to have two cups, but that is typical of the English, they have to be different.

"No one else in the world has two cups but here they have to be unique and special. You drive on the wrong side of the road, make up your own rules, instead of 10-metre penalty spot you have 12 yards, but that is what makes the competition and the country special, you have these traditions."

As well as the chance of cup final glory at the Millennium Stadium and a cash boost, Wilnis believes keeping the winning habit can help the league form.

He said: "If we can get a good run going in the cup it helps the team confidence. I remember when we reached the semi-final and the team were flying in the league as well and ended up fifth and the cup run helped. We want to keep our winning run going."

And having felt the pain of the deep financial cuts afflicting football in general and clubs like Ipswich in particular, Wilnis has empathy and sympathy for today's opponents who have been in administration for a record time.

"I feel for all these clubs in administration having been through it, Wimbledon, Notts County, Oldham all of them.

"In an ideal world everyone would be out of administration but clubs continue to put themselves at risk by buying players hoping they will get promotion but when it doesn't happen it proves costly."

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