Kevin Davies hopes to write new ending against Manchester United in FA Cup

Kevin Davies

Eighteen years after making his name in the FA Cup, Kevin Davies is hoping the competition will help him write a different ending to his not-quite fairytale.

Davies was a teenage striker at Chesterfield when they embarked on a remarkable FA Cup run in 1996-97.

The Spireites thought they had gone 3-1 ahead against Middlesbrough in the semi-finals but officials failed to spot Jonathan Howard's shot had crossed the line and, after a 3-3 draw, Chesterfield lost the replay.

Six years later Davies was left out of the squad when Southampton contested the 2003 final, and in 2011 a trip to Wembley turned into a nightmare when Bolton lost 5-0 to Stoke in the semi-finals.

Now 37, Davies is looking forward to another night in the spotlight with Preston as they prepare for the visit of Manchester United in the fifth round on Monday.

Sitting a few feet away from the trophy he covets more than any other, Davies said: "Every time it comes round the memories come back.

"Chesterfield was the first one. We had a fantastic run, getting to Old Trafford for the semi-final was what dreams are made of.

"It was an epic game, at 2-0 up we thought we were there against 10 men and then the goal that wasn't given. If that gets given, I think we're in the final.

"That was heartbreaking but at the same time it brought some wonderful memories. With Southampton I missed out on the final, which was again heartbreaking, and I had heartbreak with Bolton in the semi-final as well losing 5-0 to Stoke.

"It's a cup I've always loved from being a young boy with dreams of lifting it and it's never quite happened but maybe this year.

"It's come in for a lot of criticism in recent years, probably since Man United didn't enter the competition (in 1999/00) it's gone down in the pecking order. But for me I'd rather win that over the Champions League any day."

After making his England debut at 33, Davies is well aware that it is never too late to realize your dreams.

He is an integral part of a Preston team gunning for promotion from League One, even if goals are harder to come by these days.

Davies scored the 150th of his career in last weekend's victory over Coventry having been stuck on 149 for more than a year.

That was one of three successive wins for Preston heading into Monday's match, and Davies sees no reason why this match should be an FA Cup last hurrah.

"I hope not," he said. "We're looking to get past Man United and get as far as we can. I've certainly put no date on me retiring.

"This is a game we can really enjoy and have a good go at. We know the priority is getting back into the Championship and hopefully go on from there because it's a great club with a lot of ambition.

"But we've worked hard to get here. The lads in the dressing room and the crowd have been after one of the big boys since I've been here and it's nice to have one visiting on Monday.

"We deserve to be on the same pitch as Manchester United and I'm sure that will give whoever's selected that extra 10, 15, 20 per cent, and we're already a good team.

"You see how much trouble Burnley caused them and we're capable of doing that. We've got players that can hurt them going forward and defenders willing to defend hard and put their bodies on the line.

"I really believe we have a good opportunity of getting through this tie."

 

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3 Comments

  1. rkujay February 15, 2015
    • Fred the Red February 15, 2015
  2. Brian February 15, 2015

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