BOURNEMOUTH manager Eddie Howe admits the FA Cup is not the club's main priority, but says he will be taking the famous competition “very seriously”.
Howe will be hoping the Cherries can overcome League Two high-fliers Burton Albion when they face-off in the third round at Dean Court tomorrow, kick-off 3pm, and progress to the fourth round for the first time since 2005, when Howe was an unused substitute during a 2-0 defeat at Burnley.
But Howe, who watched his boyhood heroes Everton reach three successive finals between 1984 and 1986, maintains that the Cherries’ Championship fortunes are his first concern this season.
He said: “The FA Cup is a great competition and, when I was growing up in the 1980s, it was all that was talked about. I don’t think you lose that thought process and we will be taking it very seriously.
“I am not going to lie, it is not our main priority this season. But to go on a cup run would give everyone confidence and you never want to lose a game so we would like to see how far we can go.”
Howe is set to make changes to his starting line-up, with the tie coming on the back of a punishing schedule of four Championship matches in 12 days over the festive period.
And unless the situation regarding Lee Camp is resolved ahead of kick-off – the ex-Burton Albion goalkeeper’s loan from West Bromwich Albion expired on New Year’s Day – Ryan Allsop is likely to earn a recall.
Free agent Camp, whose contract with the Baggies also came to an end two days ago, has been in talks with Cherries over a permanent deal and is unlikely to want to be cup tied until his future has been decided.
Discussing his team selection, Howe said: “We will see who is fit and available. From my perspective, it is a game we want to win but I am going to have to rotate the squad. We have players who have been running on empty for the past couple of games so will utilise the squad and give some other players an opportunity to impress.”