9:20am Friday 3rd January 2014
By David Pritchard
AFTER three decades in football Chris Wilder has experienced most of the highs and lows the game has to offer.
But there is one gap on his CV which remains unfilled – either as a player or a manager he is still waiting to be involved in a memorable FA Cup run.
After hard-fought wins against Gateshead and Wrexham, Wilder’s Oxford United side have earned their place in the third round at Charlton Athletic.
They fell at the same stage last season, at home to Sheffield United, and it is 14 seasons since the club reached round four, when Chelsea halted their progress after a replay.
Wilder fared little better during his playing career and although the Blades reached the latter stages while he was on the books at Bramall Lane, the defender was not in-volved.
The U’s boss admitted it was a record he would dearly love to improve, but pointed out how rare good runs can be.
“We’ve not really had any really good cup runs, but there’s not many who have at our level,” he said.
“There are the odd ones who go through to the fourth and fifth round, but usually that’s one every number of years.
“Teams do get through and if we got to the fourth round it would be a fantastic achievement and I suppose however we did it we would no doubt look at keeping it going.
“I’ve not really had a big cup run on my CV and I didn’t really have one as a player.
“It’s only the Lampards and Terrys who continually get through to semi-finals and finals.”
It is only five months since Charlton won 4-0 against the U’s in the Capital One Cup.
The lower ranked side did not get the rub of the green that night, but still go into this game as clear underdogs.
It is tempting to think the margin of victory would allow complacency to creep into the Championship side during the build-up.
But Wilder, who briefly played for the south London club and is full of respect for his opposite number, Chris Powell, is adamant it will not be a factor.
He said: “It’s not a ‘Big Time Charlie’ club, there are a lot of grounded people.
“A lot of people have changed since, but even then the supporters were grounded and the managers were working class guys who have had to work for their careers in football.
“They won’t be taking us lightly, they won’t be arrogant or big-time, I’m absolutely sure of that.”
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