CONOR Sammon is dreaming of following in the footsteps of his Manchester United heroes when he walks out for Derby County this afternoon.
The 26-year-old striker was a Manchester United fan growing up in Dublin in the 1990s.
His memories of the FA Cup include Eric Cantona’s winner against Liverpool in the 1996 final and Ryan Giggs’ stunner to beat Arsenal in the 1999 semi-final.
Today, he gets to play in his first FA Cup tie for the Rams as they face Tranmere Rovers at Pride Park, kick-off 3pm, and cannot wait to get stuck in.
“I was a big Man United fan as a kid so I’ve got great memories of the FA Cup,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to playing and making a piece of my own history if I can.
“We’re only five or six games away from playing at Wembley and that’d be a dream for any player.
“The cup definitely means something.
“Every footballer’s different, but I still love the cup.”
Sammon played just one FA Cup game for former club Wigan Athletic, and he only got two minutes in a shock 2-1 defeat to League Two Swindon Town a year ago.
He is looking forward to his first start in the historic competition today — and knows just what it is like to suffer defeat to an underdog.
“I only have one memory of playing in the cup — and it’s a brief one at Swindon when I was playing for Wigan,” said the big target-man.
“The manager played a weakened side and, credit to Swindon, they totally outplayed us that day and thoroughly deserved to knock us out.
“I only got on for two minutes.”
Sammon, who has six goals in 25 appearances so far for Derby following a £1.2 million move from Wigan, knows how much the FA Cup means to the club.
For boss Nigel Clough it is a chance of silverware, but also a chance to fill up the club’s coffers if a glamour tie away to Premier League giant can be secured.
“It’s an unbelievable cup with so much history,” said Sammon.
“For a club like Derby, to have a run is important.
“We’ve got a home tie against Tranmere, who are a very good team.
“We’re just looking forward to another home game and hopefully getting through.
“We know they’re a tough team and we’ve got to be on our game to get through to the next round.
“We’ll prepare exactly the same as any other game, we’ll look at videos and try to get the result we want.”
Meanwhile, Sammon is still looking for his first goal away from Pride Park, with all six so far coming at home.
“It’s just the way it’s happened,” he said.
“I’d like to change that and score home and away.
“I couldn’t point to a reason for it or anything like that.”