And centre-half calls on colleagues to bounce back from Reading defeat
GARETH McAuley insists his Albion team-mates have the determination required to overcome QPR in tonight’s FA Cup third-round replay at The Hawthorns (ko 8pm).
The 33-year-old defender, who played for Lincoln, Leicester and Ipswich before joining the Baggies, has never gone beyond the fourth round of football’s oldest competition.
And the Northern Ireland international hopes to add a cup run to his ever-expanding résumé - with a home tie against Sheffield Wednesday or MK Dons on offer to this evening’s victors.
“I’ve had a couple of runs in the League Cup but never in the FA Cup so personally I’d like for us to get as far as we can,” said McAuley.
“At the end of the day you want to win every game in every competition you play in and it doesn’t take a lot of games to get to an FA Cup final.
“Obviously it’s hard and you need the luck of the draw in cup football.
“When you think that 90,000 people will be packed into Wembley for the FA Cup final at the end of the season, why not give it a real shot at having that experience in your career?
“I always remember the crowd singing ‘Abide with Me’ before the teams come out, it’s a big day out, and only a relatively small number of very lucky people have had the experience of playing in it.
“We want to win this cup game - and there can be no doubt about that.
“We’ll be giving everything we’ve got.
“We’ll be right up for it and we need to make sure we put ourselves in a position where we can win the games to get there.”
He added: “We know the draw for the next round and if we can get through tonight we know that we have a home tie so hopefully we are able to get a bit of a run going.
“We’ve played QPR a few times recently and we know it will be a tough game.
“It’s a game that, if we play to our capabilities, we are able to win and progress from.
“Hopefully we’ll get the result we need to get into the next round.”
And McAuley believes tonight’s cup tie will allow his fellow players to put the disappointment of Saturday’s dramatic 3-2 defeat by Reading behind them.
“It’s all I’ve thought about for the last couple of days and I’m trying to work out in my own head, as an individual, what happened.
“There was enough experience on the pitch to make sure we didn’t concede again after they got the first goal.
“It’s a bit of a freak thing really and they didn’t really have a lot of chances before that but a game’s 90 minutes long and we ended up coming away with nothing from a game we should have won comfortably.
“Fortunately, at this time of year the games come thick and fast, so we’ll be able to put that behind us with a good result against QPR, before we turn our attention to Villa on Saturday.”