Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wilson hoping for successful cup run

Ireland's Marc Wilson is pinning his hopes on a successful FA Cup campaign as he looks to overcome the heartache of missing last season's Wembley final show-piece.

The County Antrim born Irish international was a regular starter for Portsmouth under Avram Grant in a memorable run to the FA Cup Final which included the excellent 2-0 semi-final success against a strongly-fancied Tottenham Hotspur side at Wembley Stadium.

However, a hamstring injury suffered in Pompey's final Premier League game of the season against Everton brought his campaign to an end and subsequently scuppered his chances of featuring in main cup event of the English season.

"It was heartbreaking really, that's the only way I can describe it," he told stokecityfc.com. "To have played in all of the other games, including the semi final at Wembley, made it even harder for me.

"As a youngster, you grow up dreaming of walking up the stairs at Wembley to lift the FA Cup, and to have that chance taken away from you, just like I did last year, is gut-wrenching really.

He continued: "The FA Cup is an amazing competition to play in and it is still one I am dreaming about winning one day. I don't see why we can't achieve that here. We have a home game coming up and if we can come through that then we are in the last eight where anything can happen."

The 23-year old is refusing to get too carried away about the prospects of reaching the quarter finals for a second successive year, describing the upcoming encounter against League One high-fliers Brighton as an "extremely difficult challenge".

"It is a game of football, and in those 90 minutes anything is possible," he added. "This competition is famous and it is famous because strange things can happen. Teams who you don't think should have a chance can come out on top and we have to be wary of that.

"We have good players here and we are confident that if we play to our potential then we should win the game, but they will come here confident because they are doing very well this season. I have seen them a couple of times on television and I have been impressed with them."

Victory against the Seagulls would help cap off a memorable ten days for the youngster, who only last week stepped off the substitutes bench to make his senior debut for Ireland as they brushed aside Wales 3-0 in the opening game of the Carling Nations Cup.

"It was an extremely proud moment for me and obviously an occasion I will never ever forget. It was fantastic to play a part in the game because it is something I have wanted to do since I was a little boy," he commented in reflecting on his international debut.

"To have all my family and friends over there at the game made it even more special for me, and hopefully if I can continue doing the right things here at Stoke, which is my priority, then I will get more opportunities down the line to represent my country."