Winnard hoping for his own big match

A CERTAIN fixture at Turf Moor may be the talk of much of East Lancashire, but former Blackburn Rovers defender Dean Winnard is more interested in making sure that Sunday is a memorable day for Accrington Stanley.

Stanley are also playing arguably their biggest game of the season this weekend, as they host Oxford United tomorrow in the second round of the FA Cup.

They will be bidding to gain revenge on a side who beat them 5-0 at the Kassam Stadium in a League Two fixture only last month, in Paul Cook’s penultimate game as Reds boss.

And while Winnard wishes his former club Rovers all the best in their derby against Burnley, he hopes that Stanley will have done enough against Oxford to make the FA Cup third round draw the biggest event of Sunday for him.

The Reds have been in the third round only once since their return to the Football League, beating Gillingham in 2010 before facing Fulham in the fourth round. They have also played the likes of QPR and Newcastle in the League Cup.

The FA Cup third round draw takes place live on ITV1 at 2.40pm, minutes after the end of the East Lancashire derby at Turf Moor.

“There’s nothing better than being at home on the Sunday and waiting for the draw to come on and seeing someone like Manchester United come out, and hopefully Accrington,” said the 23-year-old.

“I played in our cup games against Fulham and Newcastle, they are probably my two biggest games. QPR was big too.

“The excitement you get before a game like that, everyone says you should treat every game the same but it does have that slight edge to it.

“Saturday is a massive game for the players, the fans and the club.

“Everyone knows we’re not the richest of clubs and what it would do for us if we could get in the hat for the next round.

“Oxford embarrassed us last time so hopefully we can try to do the same to them and get our own back.

“We turned up that day and we were rubbish and they put five past us.

“But hopefully we will flip that on the head.”

Stanley – playing for £27,000 in prize money this weekend – will be thankful that the striker who scored four goals at the Kassam Stadium, Tom Craddock, has been ruled out through injury.

And Winnard knows the Reds must improve on their display in Tuesday’s 2-1 home defeat to Rotherham United, when he put Stanley ahead in the second minute with his first goal in 15 months but was then involved in a mix-up with goalkeeper Ian Dunbavin for the equaliser only three minutes later.

“Me and Bavs had a little misunderstanding, it’s just one of those things,” he said. “But it was very disappointing to lose. Rotherham weren’t at their best and I think they were there for the taking.

“But we didn’t turn up either and we gave away two sloppy goals.

“It’s always pleasing to score but I’d rather give four goals away if the team wins 5-4.”

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