I don't like tempting fate in this way, but I feel compelled to put this down into the site. I have spoken before about how I believe a cup run is to be embraced and not something to be seen as a hindrance to your season.
So I see this as a wonderful opportunity to do something in the cup. I am not suggesting win it, not for a second, but the way the draw has opened up for us offers a really good chance to reach the Quarter Finals for the first time since 1996 when we lost to Villa. The following year we went out to Chesterfield who went on to the Semis in Round 5, and since then? Well not a lot of anything, save for a run to the 5th Round and taking Spurs to replay before exiting, (and being relegated) (Another aside, our league Cup record is even worse, having not made the last 8 since 1993/4 season and limping out to Tranmere)
I am not, and will not belittle the League One sides of Preston and Sheffield United, who now stand between us and the last 8. Either team could beat us, with the Blades accounting for two Premiership teams, and Preston already holding us at home. To assume we'd win either game is folly. They could take us out, and I wouldn't be THAT surprised.
Once you reach the last 8 well things get interesting, considering that the big 4 left in the competition are drawn against each other in the next round, if you make the last 8, there are only really 2 big sides left in that draw. The chances of a more favourable draw increase, in ways that I don't think have happened for us in years. It's not a strange achievement for Championship teams to make the final. Cardiff and Millwall have been there, Bradford from league 2 made the League Cup final, so this isn't all pie in the sky. Imagine if in the last 8, the remaining top sides draw each other, and we draw either Wednesday or Charlton are completely beatable if you draw them, or even anyone else further down the Premier League.
At that stage it's all possible.
But to be honest, a cup run is a great catalyst for a season. look at Bradford. I've spoken before too about even reaching the final can be experience for reaching the Wembley stage in the playoffs.
Also winning begets winning. Creating that winning atmosphere can only be a good thing, and the good feeling it would give the fans would surely seep onto the pitch.
Go for it tonight boys is basically what I'm saying. The Cup isn't a hindrance.