QPR midfielder Joey Barton is targeting a return to Wembley in the FA Cup
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Following the elation of winning the play-off final in May against Derby County, Joey Barton is targeting a return to Wembley Stadium in 2015, this time in the FA Cup.
The Rs’ recent record in the competition is horrific – having won just two matches in the competition in 14 years.
League One side Sheffield United are the visitors to Loftus Road on Sunday (kick-off 1pm).
Barton said: “For us it is a welcome distraction. Obviously the league form and Premier League survival is the priority but I was watching the documentary about the Crazy Gang the other day and I think sometimes people forget that for British lads certainly, who grew up watching cup finals, we understand what the competition means.
“I think it is more a case of managers prioritising, the people upstairs prioritising for them what is imperative but as players you always look forward to it.
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“You always get excited when the draw for the third round comes out. I’ve got a few mates who play in lower leagues.”
Barton continued: “The first round draw and the BBC covering Warrington Town who my Dad played for – that’s the romance of the cup.
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“I’ve never got further than the quarter-finals and you know we had a taste of Wembley with the play-offs last year – the opportunity to get there again would mean the world.
“It is still the greatest cup competition in the world.”
Barton believes a Champions League place rather a Europa League spot would lead to a change in approach to the competition.
He said: “We should really prioritise it. We’ve let the prestige and everything that was once synonymous with the FA Cup go.
“I think a Europa League place is maybe not the way to do it.
“It would be interesting if they put a Champions League place at stake and maybe you’d see a change in attitude.
“I’m looking forward to it. If the manager doesn’t select us then what can you do?
“As someone who has not won an abundance or medals and has had a taste of Wembley – why wouldn’t you want to go back there?
“For me the atmosphere in that stadium in May last year was as good as it gets.
“Would the FA Cup top that for what it means to the football club? Probably not, if I’m honest.”
Barton added: “For me as an Englishman who grew up watching the FA Cup final and going to watch Everton in the final in 1995 against Man United, getting the coach down with mates and family, seeing Paul Rideout score the winner... we were massive underdogs.
“I remember queuing for tickets outside Goodison Park all night and dreaming about one day maybe having the opportunity to do it.
“I’m hoping we can put a bit of a cup run together. It generally galvanises the league form.
“We’ve got Sheffield United, who are notorious giant-killers, having knocked out Southampton to make it into the semi-final of the League Cup.
“There are no easy games but we will be trying to win it.”
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