BOSS Eddie Howe has described as “a huge carrot” for both Cherries and Burton the prospect of a potentially-mouthwatering FA Cup clash with Liverpool.
The fourth round draw, which took place earlier today, handed Cherries or the Brewers a home tie against the Premier League big guns over the weekend of January 25 and 26.
Cherries will do battle with the League Two high-fliers a week on Tuesday after yesterday’s scheduled meeting was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Dean Court.
Although the draw was made around 2pm, supporters of both clubs had to wait until after the outcome of Liverpool’s third round tie with Oldham, which kicked off at 3pm.
And, unlike in 2005 when Cherries followers missed out on a trip to Anfield after Liverpool had been eliminated by Burnley, the Reds did not disappoint, beating the Latics 2-0.
Brendan Rodgers fielded a strong starting line-up including England’s Steven Gerrard, while Luis Suarez, the top goalscorer in the Premier League, came off the bench for the seven-times FA Cup winners.
Speaking to the Daily Echo, Howe, who was an unused substitute when Cherries lost 2-0 at Turf Moor nine years ago, said: “I am sure our supporters and those from Burton were absolutely delighted with the draw. A home tie against one of the biggest clubs in the country is what everybody hopes for.
“It has certainly upped the stakes for when we play Burton because you always want to test yourself against the best in the world and the Liverpool squad is packed with fantastic players.
“But nobody here is getting ahead of themselves and I am sure it will be the same at Burton. We both have very important league games to prepare for and that is our immediate priority.”
Howe, who watched his boyhood heroes Everton reach three successive finals between 1984 and 1986, has already stated the FA Cup is not his priority but also said he would be taking the competition “very seriously”.
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert, whose team were the highest profile casualties of the third round after going out to Sheffield United, created a stir ahead of the clash when he said Premier League clubs tended to regard the cup as an inconvenience.
Asked for his response to Lambert’s comments, Howe told the Daily Echo: “Premier League managers’ aims and objectives are different to ours and I can only speak on behalf of this club. The FA Cup is a very important competition to us. It is not about the money for me, it is about wanting to progress as far as you can.
“The cup is special and it always throws up surprises. It has a magical pull and, for me, it has still got it. It may be different in other people’s eyes but, for me, it is still a very powerful cup.”