Ivar relishes Royals' role as FA Cup underdogBy Jonny Fordham
March 05, 2010
Ivar Ingimarsson admits that Reading are more than happy to be the underdogs in their FA Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa on Sunday (live on ITV 1, 1.45pm kick-off).
Royals’ captain will lead his troops out in front of a capacity crowd for only the second time this season as the club aims to recreate the heroics of Angus Wylie’s 1927 semi-finalists.
Reading are the only Championship side left in the last eight and 32-year-old Ingimarsson is also enjoying his best ever run in the competition.
He told getreading: “If Villa win, then people will have expected them to, but if we win, it will be another cup upset.
“Right now we’re a Championship club in the bottom half of the table, but at the same time we’ve also beaten Liverpool, Burnley and West Brom and fully deserve to be here.
“It will be the closest thing at the moment to playing in the Premier League when we had a full house for every home game.
“It’s right to say that Villa will be under more pressure than us because they are a Premier League side that is pushing to finish in fourth place and get into Europe.”
Seven-time cup winners Villa have amazingly never won a game in March under Martin O’Neill. They come into this clash on the back of a heart-breaking 2-1 defeat in the Carling Cup final against Manchester United last Sunday.
Royals, however, are unbeaten at Madejski Stadium in 2010 and although Ingimarsson insists that the Championship is the club’s main focus, the cup has played a part in resurrecting league form.
“For me and the club as a whole, the league is the thing that matters most,” said Ingimarsson.
“But the FA Cup has helped transform our league form and we want to go as far we can in that, as well as finishing as high up the table as possible.”
Two years ago ex-Royals striker Dave Kitson famously declared that he couldn’t care less about the cup. But Ingimarsson insists that is not an attitude present in the dressing room this season.
The Icelandic defender added: “That was just Kits’ opinion at the time and only his. The league is always the main focus, but it doesn’t mean we go into games and don’t give 100 per cent. We look forward to trying to repeat some history.”
Jobi McAnuff has been fined £4,000 for his involvement in the post-match brawl that marred Reading’s 3-2 win over West Brom in their fifth-round replay at the Hawthorns.
The Royals midfielder still has two matches to serve of the three-game ban he received following his dismissal after the final whistle.