Michael Doyle targets Pompey FA Cup boost

Michael Doyle, left, in action for Sheffield United against Hull at Wembley
Michael Doyle, left, in action for Sheffield United against Hull at Wembley
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Plymouth: pre-match talking points

  • Blues skipper saw how semi-final run had a positive effect on league form
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Michael Doyle believes the FA Cup can give Pompey’s season some extra impetus.

The Blues skipper was part of the Sheffield United side that reached the semi-finals of the competition two seasons ago with a remarkable run to the last four.

After wins at Colchester and Cambridge United in the first two rounds, the League One side knocked out two Premier League sides in Aston Villa and Fulham in the third and fourth round.

The Blades then took care of Championship sides Nottingham Forest and Charlton before eventually going down 5-3 to Hull City in the semi-final showdown at Wembley.

Pompey laboured through their first round clash against Macclesfield in their 2-1 win at the weekend, but it set up a home tie with League Two rivals Accrington Stanley, which gives them a real chance of a third round place.

And Doyle has explained how momentum can transfer from the FA Cup to league form as Pompey press their promotion claims this season.

He said: ‘I know myself if you get good draws, you can get good results and it takes you that step forward as a club.

‘I know it’s early days in the competition but you can pick up a few results, get some good draws and you can suddenly find yourselves in the quarter-finals and semi-finals.

‘If you get that bit of luck on your side, you never know how far you can go.

‘At Sheffield United, we were having a bad time in the league but the FA Cup was something that took the pressure off us.

‘We were under massive pressure in the league but the FA Cup was a bit of a release for us.

‘We went to Aston Villa and won and we ended up getting to the semi-finals at Wembley.

‘Before we knew it, we were 12-13 games unbeaten and it was the FA Cup that got our season going.

‘We went from bottom of the league to finishing just outside the play-offs.

‘It’s a bit different for us as we’ve had a decent start to the season but winning matches becomes a habit.’

Perhaps the ideal scenario for Pompey this season is to reach the third round, pull out a money-spinning away day at one of the Premier League giants and then return to their priority of the League Two campaign.

And even at the age of 34, the Irishman admits that the competition still stirs the emotions.

He said: ‘You watch the draw on TV and you start getting excited.

‘You get an understanding of how much it means to people.

‘It’s the same as players though.

‘The manager wants to get a bit of a run in the FA Cup as well as doing as well as we can in the league.

‘It’s certainly something, as players, we have all had our eye on as well.

‘With some of the draws you can get against teams in the Premier League, everyone takes it seriously.

‘Every year it throws up some unbelievable shocks.

‘We don’t want to be on the wrong end of a shock – we want to be the team causing the shock later in the competition.’