Promotion hopefuls Bournemouth keen on FA Cup

Saturday 24 Jan 2015
Adam Smith (right) in Third Round action against Rotherham

Bournemouth are in the thick of a promotion battle – but that won’t distract them from trying to embark on a record run in The FA Cup, says their right-back Adam Smith.

Eddie Howe’s men are a point clear of Middlesbrough at the top of the Championship table, although league matters will take a back seat on Sunday as Bournemouth travel to Aston Villa for an FA Cup Fourth Round clash.

The Cherries have never gone beyond the quarter final of the world’s oldest knockout competition, a feat they achieved in 1957 - the same year Villa last won The Cup - and Smith wants to go as far as possible this season.

Aston Villa v Bournemouth

The FA Cup
Fourth Round Proper
3pm, Sunday 25 January
Villa Park, Aston Villa FC
Winning clubs receive £90,000

He said: "When you are a kid one of the things you remember is watching The FA Cup Final and all the build-up to it.

"It is a special competition. Some people think it has lost its spark, but I don’t think it has. Every player wants to win The FA Cup and I know we will definitely be taking it very seriously this season.

"Hopefully we can beat Villa and then go on a bit of a run, like we did in the League Cup. We are looking to go on another good run and we'll see where that takes us."

Bournemouth reached the last eight of the League Cup, having defeated Premier League outfit West Bromwich Albion along the way.

They were eventually knocked out by Liverpool, but their performance that night, as well as their league form, has given Smith confidence that his team-mates can claim another top-flight scalp at the weekend.

"Things are going well at the minute," he added. "The team spirit is very good and we’re playing some good football.

"Every game you play in you want to win. You want to make winning a habit and that’s what we have been trying to do. If we can beat another Premier League side it will give us more confidence.

“I really believe we can beat anyone on our day”

Adam Smith on high-flying Bournemouth

"We have played a couple of Premier League teams already this season and we gave a good account of ourselves both times. The lads won’t be scared going into this game. We are just looking forward to testing ourselves against another top side."

The former Spurs and England Under-21s defender continued: "Villa probably aren’t doing as well as they would like, but they have got plenty of quality and we know it will be tough.

"But if we can keep their big players quiet I’m sure we can get a good result, and if we play our football I’m sure we’ll have a good chance."

This will be Villa and Bournemouth’s first meeting in The FA Cup, and it was set up after Paul Lambert’s side edged past Blackpool in the Third Round, while the south coast side came from 1-0 down to rout Rotherham 5-1 at the New York Stadium.

And Smith believes that win highlights both Bournemouth’s talent and their resolve.

He added: "We went behind but we kept playing our football, kept plugging away and I think we outplayed them in the end.

"Our quality showed through with the five goals, and I really believe we can beat anyone on our day."

By Glenn Lavery