FA Cup is special for Bristol City star Greg Cunningham
In an age where the FA Cup has become something of an ugly sister to the Premier League's Cinderella, it is refreshing to hear Bristol City defender Greg Cunningham talk of the world's longest-running domestic knockout competition with genuine affection.
But then the Irishman has good reason to be grateful for the continued existence of a tournament which, in many cases, offers young players at big clubs their only opportunity to play first team football.
A small fish in a very big pond at Manchester City, Cunningham made his senior debut in an FA Cup third round tie against Scunthorpe United in front of the TV cameras at Glanford Park in January 2010.
Introduced as a second-half substitute, the left-back picked up a yellow card, experienced the thrill of winning 4-2 and loved every single minute.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Certainly, playing for the Robins against Blackburn Rovers in Saturday's third round tie at Ewood Park will evoke happy memories for the Republic of Ireland international.
"The FA Cup means a lot to a young player like myself," admitted Cunningham, who dropped down to the Championship when joining City in search of regular football last summer.
"No matter what some might say, it is a very prestigious competition and I'm excited to be playing in it.
"I made my debut under Mancini in the FA Cup, so I have a soft spot for the competition.
"I have happy memories of that day. I came on at half time and we won 4-2.
"Unfortunately, I did not get to play in the next round, so that game was it for me. I'm excited about playing in the FA Cup for Bristol City and, if I want to keep playing in it, I know we have to win on Saturday."
Back to winning ways under the guidance of caretaker manager Gary Bowyer, Blackburn will be in confident mood after despatching Nottingham Forest 3-0 at Ewood Park on New Year's Day.
It seems the nation's bookmakers have pretty much dismissed City's prospects of making the fourth round for the first time since 2007.
But Cunningham insists he and his team-mates are capable of upsetting the formbook in east Lancashire.
Recalling September's 5-3 Championship defeat to Blackburn at Ashton Gate, Cunningham joked: "Hopefully, we will score more goals than they do this time.
"It was a crazy game back then. We came out on the wrong end of it, but I felt the score-line flattered Blackburn, because we deserved a draw.
"We know what we are going up against, but we know we can score goals and compete with Blackburn.
"If anything can happen in the Championship, then anyone can beat anyone in the FA Cup and we have a squad good enough to neat anyone in the league on our day."