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Pav aims to keep FA Cup dream alive
Published : 10 Apr 2010 14:07:00
Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko has set his sights on FA Cup glory after using the competition to kick-start his Spurs career. The 28-year-old was heading for the exit door before coming off the bench and netting against Leeds just before the January transfer window closed. Spurs boss Harry Redknapp refused to sanction a deal to take Pavlyuchenko back to his native Russia and his cup goal sparked a run of nine in eight games. He is now in contention to play against Portsmouth in the semi-finals at Wembley this weekend. "Not many teams get to play at this stage of the competition so we are thankful to be there, but my attitude is that we should aim to win the cup at all costs," said Pavlyuchenko. "Wembley is the best stadium I've ever played at and so it is every footballer's dream to play in a game like this. I'm sure it will be packed with fans so I'm looking forward to it a lot." Pavlyuchenko, the £13.8million signing from Spartak Moscow, described his mentality before he broke back into the team under Redknapp. "I wanted to remind everyone that there is such a player as Roman Pavlyuchenko and that the transfer to Tottenham was not in vain, for him or the team," he said. "Reading the press, they almost forgot about me, then there was different speculation about where I would be sold during the transfer window. "I wanted to remind people Roman Pavlyuchenko can play and is a good footballer." Facing Portsmouth will be an emotional occasion for Spurs boss Redknapp, who guided them to FA Cup glory two years ago before Sacha Gaydamak withdrew his financial support for the club. "They suddenly had a new owner (Sulaiman Al Fahim) who was supposed to be one of the richest men in the world and it was 'oh, we're going to be up there challenging with Man City'," said Redknapp. "That was the vibe I was getting. That sounded fantastic but then all of a sudden when he was buying hamburgers off the stall outside they thought maybe he wasn't as rich as they first thought. He was the only Saudi with no money." Winning the FA Cup offers a route back into Europe for Spurs, although they are still in the hunt for a Champions League place and Redknapp is aware of the Premier League game they have on Wednesday against Arsenal. "We can get into Europe through the league anyway," he said. "We want to win the cup if we get there but first we are only looking as far as Portsmouth. "I couldn't be looking any further than Sunday. After Sunday we will look again, see who is fit and can play against Arsenal and take it from there. "That's how it's going to be. Then we've got Chelsea, then we've got Man United and they don't come any tougher." Ledley King has an outside chance of facing Pompey, while Aaron Lennon is back in training after being out since December with a groin problem. Michael Dawson is confident of shaking off an Achilles problem to lead the side out if King does not make the starting XI. "At the start of the season I was fourth choice," Dawson said. "Through injuries I got in the team and I'm enjoying every minute of it. "I never thought about moving but when I am not playing football I am not happy. You can't give up at the first sign of not being in the team - and the hard work paid off."