West Brom boss Tony Pulis has taken a swipe at the Premier League by claiming it is devaluing the FA Cup.
The Baggies head coach feels the competition needs to be respected instead of being left “fourth in line”.
Albion host Bristol City in the third round on Saturday and go to Chelsea on Wednesday during a full midweek league programme before travelling to Southampton at the weekend.
Sam Allardyce called the scheduling “diabolical” this week and Pulis echoed the thoughts of the Sunderland manager, with midweek games following the fourth round as well.
Pulis said: “I’m looking at the fixtures and I’m just disappointed they’ve treated the FA Cup as they have, about fourth down in line.
“Football now, there is internationals, then Premier League, Premier League, Premier League. The FA Cup, you should be given a free run. It is a wonderful competition.
“It’s the best cup competition in the world and for people to throw a fixture in two or three days later, I don’t think is right. I am traditional in the way I am and I would like to see a clear run so everyone respects it and takes it seriously.
“We’ve got a three-game week again and we’ve got two away games so we’ve always got an eye on staying in the Premier League.
“As a young boy, I couldn’t wait to watch. It was one of the big days of the football world as a boy. I still treat it that way now. Going to Wembley with Stoke in 2011 when City beat us 1-0, was still one of the great moments of my life.”
Pulis could give Ben Foster his first game since March last year after the goalkeeper recovered from a cruciate knee ligament injury.
Jonas Olsson could return after a hamstring injury, Salomon Rondon and James McClean are back after bans while Saido Berahino will be in the squad but Victor Anichebe (hamstring) is out.
Pulis added: “You get pulled between a lot of players who haven’t played a lot. Do you give them a game? If you do that you get criticised for not picking your strongest team and disrespecting the FA Cup. You have to weigh it up.”