PREVIEW: Blackburn Rovers vs Bristol City
JON Stead believes any tendency to downgrade the FA Cup in Bristol City's list of priorities would be a mistake.
Taken at face value, tomorrow's third-round tie against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park is hardly the most pressing issue for a team that is fighting for survival at the wrong end of the Championship table.
Given that the Robins are once again engaged in a protracted relegation battle, it would be all too easy to dismiss the FA Cup as an unwanted distraction.
But striker Stead, pictured, reckons City's best interests will be served by taking tomorrow's assignment in east Lancashire seriously and progressing to the next round of the competition.
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
Stead said: "Every game is important and this one is no different.
"Of course, we can forget about picking up points this weekend and put the league to one side. But that does not mean the Blackburn game is of no importance to us.
"We know we have to pick up points consistently in the Championship and, for that to happen, we have to be confident in what we are doing.
"The only way to build confidence is to win games and we need to make winning a habit.
"That is why every game you play counts and why you don't look any further ahead than the next one.
"Winning games and producing good performances breeds confidence and, come Saturday, our full focus will be on the FA Cup.
"You do not want to be going into a Cup game worrying about the league, so we have to put that to one side.
"If we can go to Blackburn, get a result and play well, it will help us in the next Championship game against Leicester."
City's recent record in the FA Cup makes grim reading and they have failed to make the fourth round since taking Middlesbrough to a replay and losing on penalties at the Riverside in February 2007.
Since then, the Robins have gone out at the third round stage in each of the last five seasons, beaten by Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, Cardiff, Sheffield Wednesday and Crawley Town.
But Stead refuses to be downhearted and believes he and his team-mates can approach tomorrow's tie at Ewood Park in a positive mind-set after staging a second-half fightback at Millwall on New Year's Day.
Awful in the first half, the Robins rallied after the break and equalised through Stead before eventually losing 2-1.
Stead said: "There was a time earlier this season when we would not have come back from a first half performance like that one.
"But we did come back against Millwall, which was pleasing, and we have to take that into the next game and approach it with a positive mind-set. We cannot afford to look back."
A former Blackburn player, Stead admits he is both upset and shocked by goings-on within the club since the Venky's became owners.
He told The Post: "It's none of my business, but what is going on at Blackburn is crazy.
"It is a shame to see, because it was a really well run family club when I was there and I enjoyed my time at Blackburn. It is upsetting to see what is happening now with all the changes but, hopefully, things will work out eventually.
"I have no alliances with anybody up there now and, if we can make things worse for Blackburn, then we will.
"We are going up there to do the business and get through to the next round."