Sheffield Wednesday: Jones’ Wembley dream

Cardiff feat: Dave Jones took the Bluebirds all the way in 2008.
Cardiff feat: Dave Jones took the Bluebirds all the way in 2008.

DAVE Jones is inspired by the experience of leading Cardiff to the FA Cup Final and refuses to believe that it is impossible for Wednesday to go all the way.

He heads into his first FA Cup-tie as Owls manager when MK Dons visit Hillsborough tomorrow.

Jones knows that the road to Wembley could be long and hard for Wednesday but points out that other clubs have proved that the Premier League elite do not always have it their own way, citing Cardiff in 2008 and Millwall in 2004 as examples of outfits from outside the top division who have reached the final.

The Wednesday boss also led little Stockport to the semi-finals of the League Cup, where they were narrowly beaten by a top-flight Middlesbrough side.

“You never say never in football,” says Jones. “Every time you put a team out, you have to believe you’re going to win.

“It can happen, if you believe it and it’s your year. It’s like getting points; you have to make it your game. There’s nothing impossible.”

Cardiff lost 1-0 to Premier side Portsmouth in the final, and Championship clubs Barnsley and West Brom were the other semi-finalists.

The Owls boss also accepts that a lot can depend on the draw, and feels that Premier League clubs are at risk in the competition if they do not field full-strength teams.

“It depends on who you are playing,” he says. “If you are playing a side below you then everybody expects you to win; if you’re playing a side above you, you’re hoping you’re going to win.

“Everybody wants that big pay day. You look at chairmen who think they can’t get to a final and they want Manchester United or Chelsea, away. I’ve had all that before. But it was an enormous pay day when we got to the final. It’s a great occasion.”

But Jones is not making light of tomorrow’s first hurdle: “MK Dons are a solid side, a strong team who are doing quite well,” he said.

“It’s just as important as a league game would be, though the league is the priority because people will say ‘you won’t get to a cup final’. I’ve proved that one wrong, so no matter where you are you always have an opportunity to get there. I’m not a believer in taking your foot off the gas.”