Bristol City boss Derek McInnes wants to boost confidence with a good FA Cup run
BRISTOL City boss Derek McInnes insists he is taking the FA Cup seriously.
Although Championship survival remains a priority for the Robins, the Scot says he will field his strongest available team in tomorrow's third-round tie against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
McInnes, pictured, is aware of the benefits of an extended run in the competition and has reiterated his desire to improve the club's recent poor record in knockout competitions.
He said: "I've seen during my career how important it is to try to get on a cup run and the benefits that can bring. It can bring confidence and a feel-good factor and can be important financially, because it can generate a lot of money.
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"Of course, league business is the most important thing, but I think the FA Cup is a welcome distraction from that.
"We will prepare as we normally do for any other game and there is no way I'm going to field a weakened side or anything like that.
"We will be going up there to try to get a result and I will be picking my strongest available team.
"There is no feeling among us that our approach will be any less intense than it is for a league game. Anything less than that, would be foolish against a Blackburn team that will be dangerous opponents on their own pitch.
"If we are anything less than full-on in our approach, then we will not be in the next round of the cup."
He added: "I do feel that down here (in England) there is the feeling that the FA Cup is a distraction. That is not something we feel.
"I get asked about it a lot and I'm not sure why that is."
City have gone out at the third-round stage in each of the last five seasons and McInnes is determined to put right that particular record of under-achievement.
He said: "It is not (playing) on my mind, but as a club, our record is poor. It is up to this team and this group of players to do their bit and, hopefully, we can get into the next round.
"It is astonishing how poor the cup form has been of late. We want to get into the next round of the cup and we will be doing all we can to make sure that happens."
McInnes will make a number of enforced changes at Ewood Park. Middlesbrough have denied defender Stephen McManus permission to play, while Neil Danns has returned to Leicester and Albert Adomah is away on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Ghana. Stephen Pearson has recovered from a knee injury and is expected to replace Danns in the centre of midfield, but defenders Joe Bryan and Louis Carey are carrying minor injuries and are not sure to feature. Now back from a loan spell at Yeovil, tight-back Joe Edwards will be included in the squad.
McInnes said: "There will be a few enforced changes, given that Stephen McManus is not allowed to play, Neil Danns has been recalled at the end of his loan and Albert Adomah is away on Africa Cup of Nations duty.
"Richard Foster is injured and one or two other players are causing concern. Louis Carey and Joe Bryan are carrying knocks and we have to make sure that we go up there with a squad that gives us a chance.
"Blackburn can play a very open game at times, which could make us more vulnerable, and we have to make sure we are nice and solid and difficult to play against.
"We've not found scoring goals hard and we need to show what we can do in the final third."