BARNLSEY manager Simon Davey has ordered his players to savour Sunday's FA Cup semi-final against Cardiff and forget about the possibility of slipping deeper in the Coca-Cola Championship relegation mire.
The Tykes may have memorably ousted holders Chelsea and Liverpool from this year’s competition to reach the last four, but they have been unable to replicate their cup heroics on a regular basis in the Championship.
In fact, Davey’s side could find themselves unceremoniously dumped into the bottom three ahead of the club’s biggest game in nearly a century, if fellow strugglers Southampton get can take anything from their game with Bristol City tomorrow.
But the mood at Oakwell is understandably buoyant as memories of the 2-1 victory at Anfield in February and the 1-0 success over Chelsea last month are still fresh in the mind.
Davey, for this week at least, is putting the league to one side to focus fully on striving to win the FA Cup for the first time since the club’s one and only success back in 1912 – the same year the Titanic sunk.
“I’m going to enjoy it,” enthused Davey. “We are going to forget the league.
“For the last four weeks I’ve been asked questions about the FA Cup when we had the league to concentrate on and, now we're in the FA Cup, I’m being asked about the league.
“So we are forgetting about the league and having a week to concentrate on the FA Cup – and we are going to enjoy it!”
After belying their lowly status and producing stirring displays to deservedly beat Barclays Premier League giants Liverpool and Chelsea, the Tykes now face a Cardiff team they have beaten just once in their last six encounters.
Davey insists the Bluebirds – currently 10 points above Barnsley in the Championship – go into Sunday’s game as favourites and is more than happy for his side to once again be billed as underdogs.
Nevertheless the Oakwell boss, who started his playing career with Cardiff’s bitter rivals Swansea, is confident the “no fear” attitude which has helped forge a fairytale run in the FA Cup will again be evident this weekend.
“It’ll be a different game to what we’ve been used to in the FA Cup so far this season,” said Davey. “It’ll be more like a Championship game and they'll be favourites.
“It’s not going to be an easy game but the big factor for me is that we are still underdogs.”