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FA Cup still special

23 January 2014

Birchall looking forward to Saturday

Vale midfielder Chris Birchall is looking forward to taking on one of his former clubs here at Vale Park on Saturday and says it is not beyond Vale’s capabilities to produce what any will see as a shock result.

Whatever is said about the competition, it is still probably the best known club cup competition in the world, but has the magic worn off these days?

Birchall says: “Maybe for the bigger teams, but definitely not for us, it is always a cup you want to do well in and get one of the bigger boys.

“We are doing well in the league and it is a nice distraction. We could have done without the Plymouth replay, but we are through to the next round.

“Brighton are a great club who have progressed massively in the last five years and for me, playing against my old team, the FA Cup brings these games about and hopefully we can try and get through it.

“I was here as a young kid with the bad games, such as Canvey Island and Chasetown, so they are the negative ones, but we have had some great ties.

“Aston Villa away in 2006 was a great tie – we took a lot of fans then, but haven’t really done that well since then.

“Being in the fourth round again is nice and playing against Brighton, who are a massive team, is nice and hopefully we can keep on doing well, but it is hard for the lower teams to stay in the competition with the big boys being so good.

“The pressure is on Brighton really, they are expected to win the game, but they are playing away so it is going to be tough for them.

“We have just got to get in their faces and I am sure it is a game the gaffer wants to win with it being his former club, likewise me and Doug Loft.

“I have fond memories of the club and they are a big one, but it is by no means impossible to beat Brighton, especially on your own turf.”

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