Men's Team

FA Cup still ‘huge’ for Dunne as City prepare for Swindon

Richard Dunne believes the FA Cup remains as important as ever as he admitted the competition which captivated him as a child still retains a certain allure.

Cup final day was a major event in the football calendar when the former Manchester City captain was growing up in the Republic of Ireland in the 1980s, with all-day TV coverage capturing the magic of events at the old Wembley Stadium.

A semi-final appearance with Aston Villa in 2010 was the best Dunne managed during his own playing career, whilst at City the furthest he got was the quarter-finals in 2006, but having the opportunity to play in the world’s oldest competition was a major moment in his career.

City will be amongst the favourites for this year’s edition and though Pep Guardiola’s squad will also be targeting Premier League and Champions League success, Dunne says the FA Cup remains significant.

“The FA Cup final was a huge thing to me growing up as a youngster, it seemed worlds away, Wembley and the history that went with it,” he told mancity.com.

“For me growing up it was the biggest competition in the world, and it still is to this day.

“I know the glamour’s probably gone out of it slightly, but I love watching the games, I love watching the final, so it means a lot.

“To get the opportunity to play in it, and certainly for these players now to have a chance to win it is huge.

“I think it’s very important, all the players realise how important each competition is and the chance to win it and add another trophy.

“It’s not every year you get to win the league, so every competition is taken seriously, and we’ve seen that with this City squad over the years that, whether it be the FA Cup or the League Cup, they give it their all.

“When you’ve worked hard and done everything throughout the season, to have that day out at Wembley at the end is a real treat for the fans as well.

“That’s why I think in terms of the history of the competition but also what it means to the fans, it’s a very important competition for City to be involved in.”

City’s FA Cup campaign begins in the third round with a trip to League Two Swindon Town on Friday 7 January.

Ireland is Superman

It’s almost 20 years to the day that the two sides last met, coincidentally at the same stage of the 2001-02 competition, when Dunne featured as Kevin Keegan’s side won 2-0 at Maine Road.

City went on to win the Division One title in emphatic style that season and, like Guardiola’s men, were favourites when the Robins - then in the third tier - travelled to Manchester.

Dunne admits it is often a tricky scenario for the higher ranked team but has no doubt the current crop of City stars will approach the game with their usual focus.

“It can be very difficult,” he added.

“I think when the draws are made and you get teams from lower divisions, there’s always the risk that instantly you’re a bit more relaxed, there’s less intensity, the pressure’s off.

“But for the team you face, it’s a cup final, for them it’s the biggest game of the season, they want to beat a Premier League side.

“If you switch off and you’re not prepared or treat it like a Premier League game, it can be a difficult time.

“But for this City side over the last few years, every game is as important as the next and I’m sure they’ll take it very seriously.”

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