Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe highlights importance of FA Cup replays

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Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe admits he could be accused of having a “short memory” if he called for FA Cup replays to be scrapped.

Howe takes his Premier League Cherries on the long trip north to League One leaders Wigan on Wednesday evening after scraping a 2-2 draw in the initial third round meeting on January 6.

He openly acknowledges the additional fixture is not ideal but having led Bournemouth from the fourth tier to the top flight, he is fully aware of the financial benefits that the current format of the competition can have for lower-league clubs.

“If you said to me five, six years ago scrap FA Cup replays, we’d have been up in arms because that replay may well have been the moment that the club had transfer funds to sign a player or save the club from extinction, all of those things,” said Howe, whose team were handed ties with top-flight clubs Liverpool and Aston Villa during their Championship days.

“We used to dream of FA Cup runs and getting a big team, for the finances more than anything. So you can’t now suddenly have a short memory and turn around and go, actually let’s scrap the replays now because we’re in the Premier League.

“I think that’s the big thing for the FA and the difficulty for them because you’ll have half of the 92 clubs with one opinion and the other half with another opinion.

“But I think it’s important for us that we don’t forget where we’ve come from, forget what it was like when we were in a different position.”

Whilst retaining their Premier League status remains Bournemouth’s main priority, opponents Wigan, unbeaten since mid-November, have their eyes fixed on promotion and an immediate return to the Championship.

Paul Cook’s in-form Latics looked to have done enough to seal their place in the fourth round on the south coast after taking a 2-0 half-time lead but they were denied by a stoppage-time equaliser and must now host the Cherries for a chance to take on West Ham or Shrewsbury.

Howe, whose side have taken eight points from four league games to move four points clear of the drop zone, feels both teams would have preferred to have settled the matter in Dorset.

“I don’t think either would have wanted a replay from the outset, if I’m being honest,” added Howe.

“But it is what it is, it’s here in front of us. I think all we can do is do our best in this game to come and be positive about it.

“View it from the positive side of it that players get games and we get a chance to increase our momentum.”

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