Pablo wants to go one better in cup

AFTER tasting defeat in one cup final Blues striker Pablo Counago wants to go one better.The season before joining Ipswich the first time from Celta Vigo Counago played in the Copa del Rey, the Spanish equivalent of the FA Cup but lost in a two legged to Real Zaragoaza.

By Derek Davis

AFTER tasting defeat in one cup final Blues striker Pablo Counago wants to go one better.

The season before joining Ipswich the first time from Celta Vigo Counago played in the Copa del Rey, the Spanish equivalent of the FA Cup but lost in a two legged to Real Zaragoaza.

Counago said: “I have mixed memories of cup football. In my last season I played in the final with Celta but we lost and that hurt.

“It was great to get to the final. The Copa Del Rey is not the biggest but once you get the latter stages you want to do well and want to win it for yourselves and the fans.

“I would like to do better and get to the final of the FA Cup only this time win but we are only in the third round and it is along way to go.”

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The Spaniard agrees that the FA Cup has lost some of its sheen and believes cup competitions here and around the rest of Europe need more for the big clubs to play for.

He said: “It is popular but many teams are not interested and the way to make it better here and in Spain and elsewhere is to have the incentive of a Champions League place for the winner. Then maybe more teams would take it seriously.”

While Counago understands the importance of a cup run for Town, he makes no bones about the fact that promotion remains the main aim.

He said: “The FA Cup is always important and it is a good competition but it is not more important that the championship and the league is vital for us.

“But the players enjoy The FA Cup and coming up against a Premier League team will be a test for us and one we will enjoy.

“I have not had many good memories of the FA Cup really my fondest memories are from playing in the Premier League and championship but I look forward to this tie.

“Usually we are up against small teams in the past but now it is one of the top clubs in the country.

With ten goals notched up already Counago is Town's leadings corer and now can't wait to test himself against Pompey's much-vaunted defenders.

He said: “It will be special to try and score against the likes of David James and Sol Campbell but it will still mean more to score in Championship.

“It is a big chance against a big club and we will have the crowd with us to make it more special.”

With Alan Lee still a doubt with an Achilles problem and manager Jim Magilton promising to put out his strongest side, Counago will probably partner Jon Walters up front once more.

Jason De Vos with his bruised ribs is another slight doubt.

Today's squads

Ipswich Town: Alexander, Supple, Sito, Harding, Wright, Casement, Wilnis, Naylor, Bruce, Trotter, Legwinski, Miller, Garvan, Williams, Peters, Clarke, Haynes, Walters, Counago, Lee.

Portsmouth: James, Lauren, Begovic, Johnson. Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Utaka, Diop, Hughes, Muntari, Kranjcar, Taylor, Benjani, Nugent, Parmarot, Davis, Mendes,