Call of the Cup

FOR someone who is beginning only his second Emirates FA Cup campaign – and whose side failed to score, let alone win, in his first...

...Derek Adams is something of a remarkable advocate of the Emirates FA Cup.

There is more behind the Argyle manager’s support for the tournament in which the Pilgrims visit Mansfield in Saturday’s first round of this season’s knock-out contest than his previous affinity with the Scottish version of the competition.

Given the Greens’ flying form at the top of Sky Bet League Two, you would be forgiven for thinking that cup football, right now, is a distraction for the main aim of 2016-17, but that is not the case.

“You can look at it two ways,” said Derek. “You can say it’s a break, but it’s the FA Cup you are going into and we want to try to progress to the next round. We obviously know the priority this season is the league campaign but, with the FA Cup, a run can be financially beneficial to the team.

“I think, if we get through and pick up a lucrative tie, we would have a grandstand built very quickly. The money isn’t always for the football team; money needs to be spent all over the football club.

“We want to try to progress to the next round. It is important, but the most important thing is the league campaign – that is the one we want to do well in and the one you are judged on at the end of the season. A cup-run is very good – I’m not taking anything away from that – but we are not going to be judged on a cup-run.”

The sudden death element to the tie and the fallback of a replay in the event of a draw – a component under threat – means that teams can throw off the shackles. Certainly Mansfield, who have a poor home record this season, will be eager to get back to winning ways at the One Call Stadium.
Derek said: “We know, from going there last year, when it was 0-0 game, it is a difficult venue to go to, but it’s away from home and we have done well on the road. 

“Sometimes, clubs can go a wee bit gung-ho. You can throw the coats off and just go for it because there are no points to play for, but there is possibly a bigger prize at the end of the day of a lucrative tie against Premier League team.

“The cup competition is very important. I think that replays need to stay in place. I don’t think that would be fair to lower division teams if that wasn’t the case.”

Not for Derek, either, is the idea of rotating a squad that remains without the services of Oscar Threlkeld and Arnie Garita (both “with the physio”) as well as long-term injured Ryan Brunt and Gary Sawyer.

“We always play a team that we think can win the football match – I would say that’s the strongest available team,” said Derek. “Even if I make changes, I believe it is a team that is capable of winning.”