Chelsea’s defeat at home to Bradford City last season was undoubtedly one of the biggest Emirates FA Cup shocks in recent memory, but Scunthorpe United skipper Stephen Dawson insists lightning can strike twice this weekend.
The Iron, currently 15th in League One and 46 places behind stuttering English champions Chelsea in the Football League standings, travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday hoping to be the protagonists in another Cup giant-killing.
Chelsea v Scunthorpe United
The Emirates FA Cup
Third Round Proper
2pm, Sunday 10 January 2016
Stamford Bridge, Chelsea
Live on BT Sport
Winners receive £62,500 from prize fund
By Jack Miller
The magic of The Cup is certainly not lost on Dawson, who has faced Premier League clubs in the competition before in his time at Leyton Orient and Mansfield.
And the 30-year-old midfielder, who only returned from a long-term knee injury on Boxing Day, is adamant Scunthorpe are not making the trip to west London only for a day out.
"It’s a bit of a relief away from the day in, day out pressures of League One for us, and to get such a good draw is fantastic for the club," he said.
"I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in ties against Arsenal at home and Newcastle away for Leyton Orient and Mansfield, so the magic of The FA Cup is very much alive and well for me.
"Playing at St James’ Park when Shearer hit his record goal was incredible, and we took Arsenal to a replay away as well so I have very fond memories.
Highlights: Chelsea 2-4 Bradford City in The FA Cup last season
"This game is a one-off, and nobody gives us a chance if they play anywhere near like they did last weekend, but we are not just going there for a day out.
"We need to have a bit of pride and a bit of belief because if you didn’t think you were going to win the game then really there’s no point in turning up.
"They struggled last year and we know that. Bradford put in an unbelievable performance and we are of course hoping to do the same this time.
"I’m just relieved to be back in time for the game, and on Boxing Day I was like a little kid at Christmas again pulling the shirt on. It was a fantastic day for me and my family, and they’ll be over for the game at Chelsea from Dublin."
Chelsea’s interim boss Guus Hiddink, meanwhile, admits his side are taking their lower-league opponents very seriously after last year’s exit.
The Russian was not at Stamford Bridge for Bradford’s shock fourth round triumph almost a year ago, but is desperate to avoid another upset having turned Chelsea’s fortunes around in recent weeks.
The FA Cup holds a lot of fond memories for Hiddink who won the competition during his first spell with the Blues in 2009, and the 69-year-old is eyeing up the prospect of lifting the world’s most famous trophy once again.
"Whenever you are at a big club you have to set yourself some targets, and while fourth place in the Premier League is very difficult for us at the moment, there is still The FA Cup," he said.
"So that is a huge target for this group of players. We take all our opponents very seriously and we have watched some of their games.
"They will be dreaming of getting a result at our ground, and they have some very dangerous players like [Paddy] Madden who has already scored 14 times this season.
"So we are very aware of who we are playing and who can cause danger. I did not see the game against Bradford last season, but I know we must not stumble again.
"The FA Cup means a lot to me as it was the only piece of silverware I won in this country, and besides that if you see the impact of The FA Cup – not just in England but worldwide – it is a huge tradition.
"I remember as a young man I would spend Saturday afternoons watching The FA Cup, so it had a big impact on me, and we have to follow up the recent good results we’ve had again."