Watford’s Ikechi Anya says he would be “delighted” to have an FA Cup run to complement the club’s impressive Barclays Premier League form.
The Hornets welcome struggling Newcastle to Vicarage Road on Saturday for their third-round clash.
While Newcastle are stuck in the relegation zone, Watford stand ninth in the table having enjoyed a fine start to their top-flight return.
And now Anya wants the club to surpass their recent history in the FA Cup, with a fifth-round appearance in 2009 the best they have managed in the last eight seasons.
In 1984, Graham Taylor’s Watford lost to Everton in the final at Wembley.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Anya said: “Our main priority is to stay in the Premier League, but we haven’t had a good cup run in a while.
“Even though the atmosphere here is incredible, imagine if we had a cup run on top of that.
“I’d be delighted to progress in the FA Cup and go further on, I don’t see any reason why it would be a hindrance.
“We have a big squad, and we have the players who can compete and get a good result on Saturday.”
On the back of a hectic festive fixture schedule and with two league matches coming in the week after the FA Cup tie with Newcastle, Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores could be forgiven for seeing the game as a chance to rest some weary legs.
But the Spaniard, taking charge of a team in the competition for the first time, also has high hopes of making progress.
“First of all, we must try to put a good team onto the pitch to try and beat Newcastle,” he said.
“We know that after a few days we have to play against Southampton, which is very important for our main target of the season, but now the most important thing is Newcastle.
“We want to take good feelings, we want to win, and of course we want to give the opportunity to some players who are training really, really well but are not playing, because other players are playing well in the same position.
“It’s an opportunity to show everyone we want to be competitive, and finally the most important thing is the mentality of the collective.”