Aston Villa manager Remi Garde accepts Premier League survival remains his team’s primary objective, but believes victory over Wycombe in the FA Cup would help the club’s cause.
The Frenchman will make some changes to his team for the third-round replay against the League Two promotion hopefuls on Tuesday night but he wants to maintain the modicum of momentum that four points from the last two league matches has provided.
Achieving top-flight security and the run to the FA Cup final went hand in hand under Tim Sherwood last season, and Garde hopes to create something similar this time round – even if Villa are nine points adrift of safety at the bottom of the table.
“Every game is important, of course, and this is the FA Cup. But the Premier League is more important,” Garde said.
“However, we will try to do well in this competition. It is not an easy decision. I haven’t got a very deep squad. I would like to keep the momentum we are in currently. But then also we will have a very difficult game away at West Brom at the end of the week.
“We will see how the players recover from the last two games. I know the FA Cup is very important. We would like to have the best run possible in this competition, especially after last year. I will do the best for this club.
“We know it won’t be easy. The game we played at their ground (1-1 draw on January 9) wasn’t good enough to go through, so we must win on Tuesday.
“Wycombe will have a good go as they have nothing to lose. We have everything to lose. We have played two games at home in a row and got four out of six – which is not a bad week. Hopefully we will get another good result on Tuesday.”
Garde says Jack Grealish (tonsillitis) and Carlos Sanchez (hamstring) are in contention to play against Wycombe – and he will also check on the fitness of Gabby Agbonlahor, who has been struggling for a while with a back problem.
Micah Richards may also be recalled. Garde made the bold decision to leave his skipper out of the previous two line-ups, partly because of a foot injury, but also because the Frenchman favoured Joleon Lescott and Jores Okore at the heart of defence.
However, Garde insists he still has faith in the big defender, saying: “In my position, managers have to make choices. This is the one I have made for the last two games. But this doesn’t mean I don’t rely on Micah.”