Winnable tie

IT was hardly the most exciting draw Ipswich could have pulled but Blues fans will take comfort that Watford away is a winnable fifth-round tie.While many wanted a money-spinning game at Arsenal or Manchester United, or a relatively easy home game, getting the Premiership's bottom club is a mixed blessing for the Blues, whose league season is stagnating somewhat.

By Derek Davis

IT was hardly the most exciting draw Ipswich could have pulled but Blues fans will take comfort that Watford away is a winnable fifth-round tie.

While many wanted a money-spinning game at Arsenal or Manchester United, or a relatively easy home game, getting the Premiership's bottom club is a mixed blessing for the Blues, whose league season is stagnating somewhat.

Blues boss Jim Magilton could not get too excited by the draw but feels it will give his side a benchmark to work from.


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He said: “We know a bit about Watford, having played them last season, and it will give us a guide to how far we've come and how far we have to go to be a Premiership club.

“It will be a good test for us and while it would have been nice to have been at home, it's not too far for our fans to travel.

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“I'm sure we will have good support down there and we will be looking forward to it.

“I get the impression Aidy Boothroyd does not take his eye off the ball in anything, I'm sure they will be 100% focused on progressing to the next round, just as we will be.

“Winning football matches breeds confidence, whatever competition you are in and confidence is the special ingredient we are all searching for in football.”

Adrian Boothroyd's side may have won just twice in the Premiership so far but feel a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals is beckoning after the draw.

A 1-0 win at fellow top-flight strugglers West Ham booked their place in the fifth-round draw. It is not unknown for a team to reach the final, lose and also get relegated, but assistant manager Keith Burkinshaw, who steered Spurs to victory in the 1981 and 1982 FA Cup finals, was upbeat about continuing the season on two fronts.

He said: “Winning cup games gives you that little bit of confidence going into other competitions. I remember when we were doing reasonably well at Tottenham we had about 28 games where we never lost in cup competitions.

“And that gives everybody a lift. You feel as though you are a big side when that's happening.”

It was a lot more exciting FA Cup (sponsored by e.on) draw for Norwich, who go to Chelsea if they can overcome Blackpool in their replay.

Canaries boss Peter Grant said: “I didn't watch the draw because that doesn't concern me yet.”

Grant's team were held to a 1-1 draw at Bloomfield Road on Saturday.

“If we were already through to round five then that would be different. But we know we need to get Blackpool out of the way first, that's my only concern.

“It's the sort of draw which might give added motivation to everyone else, but for us we've already got that because we've got a tough match against Blackpool and it's a case of doing a job against them first.”

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