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Ward: Let's make most of FA Cup
Stephen Ward admits it is time he was involved in an FA Cup run.
But he will be under no illusion as to the threat a lower division side can pose Albion on Saturday.
Ward was part of the Wolves side who were humbled by Conference side Luton Town last season.
He has never played in an FA Cup tie in February since coming over from Ireland during the 2006-07 season and was part of a 3-0 derby defeat at home to West Brom in his first ever tie.
Whether he plays on Saturday is probably in some doubt as Oscar Garcia balances the demands of the trip to Port Vale with a league campaign which resumes at high-flying Burnley on Tuesday.
Adam Chicksen got the nod in the third round and made an accomplished debut against Championship rivals Reading.
There is every chance Oscar could put Chicksen back in against the club two places above his former employers MK Dons in League One.
But whether he walks out at Vale Park or not, Ward will have words of caution for his colleagues if asked.
He would love to be part of a club who really get stuck into a Cup run this time rather than just getting it out of the way.
“We played plenty of tricky ties like this at Wolves,” he said.
“I was speaking about it the other day to a couple of the lads.
“When I was at Wolves our priority was usually promotion or battling against relegation. The FA Cup sometimes didn’t fulfil the potential it had.
“It’s the same here situation here in that we are trying to get promoted. But it would be nice to go on a run.
“I think the furthest I’ve ever got was the fifth round and that was in my early days at Wolves.”
Ward featured in the early stages of that run to the fifth round in 2007-08 but was not in the side which bowed out 2-0 away to a Cardiff City side who would go all the way to the final.
That was the year the competition opened up dramatically in the quarter-finals when Portsmouth won at Manchester United and, later the same afternoon, Barnsley beat Chelsea.
Defeat at Cardiff was not necessarily a shock for Wolves. Both sides were in the Championship at the time.
But fifth tier beat second tier at Kenilworth Road last term and Ward still remembers it vividly.
“Last year we lost at Luton,” he said when asked if he had been on the wrong end of a shock.
“It was one of those typical cup ties. The pitch was quite wet and muddy, a few decisions didn’t go our way, they battled hard and got the win.
“It was disappointing but that’s the magic of the FA Cup I suppose!"
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