SEAN Dyche has an FA Cup memory to cherish from his time with Chesterfield.
As captain and centre half of the Spireites he helped the minnows reach the semi-finals in 1997.
But the forward-thinking defender turned manager does not really like to dwell on past glories. He is more interested in making new ones with Burnley.
The Clarets head to Barnsley tomorrow looking to combine a run of form with a run in the world’s most famous domestic cup competition, after getting 2013 off to a winning start at Sheffield Wednesday on New Year’s Day.
Dyche could be forced into changes, with question marks over Chris McCann and Martin Paterson, after muscle strains meant both were withdrawn at Hillsborough, Dean Marney could also be a doubt after missing the game with a thigh problem, while Charlie Austin and Ben Mee remain on the treatment table.
There is change afoot for Barnsley too, with uncertainty over who will take charge tomorrow after manager Keith Hill was sacked before the New Year. But for Dyche the focus is clear.
He said: “I certainly value the competition and I think there are a lot of people who do, despite people trying to talk it down sometimes. It’s a good opportunity to experience what it is to play in it – an FA Cup tie that’s taken seriously and one that’s so historic within the game in this country,” said the 41-year-old, who scored a penalty to give Chesterfield a 2-0 lead over Middlesbrough, only for the tie to require a replay, which they lost.
“Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the final because probably things were taken slightly out of our hands on the day with a big decision that went against us.
“But to be part of that run with a very good group of players at a small club and put a marker down in the history of the FA Cup somewhat was a great achievement not just by me by any means but by the whole club and the people at the club and the fans at the time.
“I don’t over-think it to be honest though, it’s present and future for me.
“But it was a good message to show that things can be done – never more so than in a cup competition because of the random chance of playing one-off situations.”
Tomorrow’s tie has very much a league feel about it, particularly with Burnley having only recently visited Oakwell in the Championship.
But for Dyche the cup has lost none of its magic.
“I consider it an important part of the fabric of English football, and I think so many do,” said the Burnley boss.
“Particularly in the lower divisions and non-league clubs who are working their way through the cup system trying to hang on in there.
“And there are the what-if scenarios of small clubs versus big clubs, and there are a few in every round.
“Ours is slightly different with it being a Championship affair, but I’m not too worried about the glamour of it, I’m more interested in getting the outcome, which is a win.”
And Dyche insists he does not view Barnsley’s managerless situation as a complication.
“We are aware of what the opposition offer and we have people who watch the opposition, as we do ourselves – mainly via DVD because of the way the fixtures work – so we’ll be aware of them.
“But it will be about us, as it always is.
“We can’t affect what’s going on at their end, our main focus will be on us.
“We were very happy with the performance the other day, and the players should be, but the next one comes around quickly.
“We want to build that winning mentality and the best way of doing that is obviously to win games.
“It’s another important game for different reasons, and one we’ll be searching to get another win from.
“We’re really focusing on what we’re doing at the moment and there have been really good signs, particularly the last win, and the one against Derby.
“We’re reasonably happy with the performance level – we were very happy with it on Tuesday and against Derby, we just slightly came away from it against Leicester, although not radically so.
“The players are showing increased belief in what we think’s appropriate and how they go about their business, and that bodes well going into any game we’re playing, regardless if it’s cup or league, so we’re just preparing to win.”