Neil Harris will send out a much-changed Cardiff City side to face Reading tonight, but insists he still values the FA Cup.
On a night when Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp have left their kids at home to take on Shrewsbury in their fourth round replay, Bluebirds boss Harris is also planning to rest a number of players.
Harris is in the middle of a spell of four matches in 12 days as the Royals return to Cardiff where they drew 1-1 last Friday.
The two clubs produced the same scoreline in their first Cup effort and for the replay Harris intends to give others some game time – although the changes will not be as sweeping as Liverpool’s U23 line-up at Anfield.
“There will be quite a few changes for the game on Tuesday – we’ve already decided that,” said Harris.
“We do want to win the game, but the Championship is hugely important to us, so it’s a chance to freshen things up.
“The FA Cup is important to us, but it is also a chance to give opportunity to some players in our squad who need minutes on the pitch.”
“It’s important for us to look at players, giving match minutes and letting some come into the group, with the chance to stake a claim and do well.
“There will certainly be some changes to the team to give people that opportunity and there may be a chance for a few younger lads to be involved.”
Sol Bamba, Josh Murphy and Danny Ward are all likely starters, but Joe Ralls could miss out again as he continues to recover from a glute muscle injury.
Loan trio Brad Smith, Albert Adomah and Dion Sanderson are ineligible as they were signed in the January transfer window after the original tie.
Reading boss Mark Bowen will also rotate heavily after nine games in January and another seven to come in February.
Charlie Adam, Garath McCleary and Andy Rinomhota all started the 1-1 draw at the Madejski Stadium and should be reunited in midfield.
The winners will host high-flying Premier League newcomers Sheffield United in March and Harris wants the reward of that tie to act as an incentive for his team, whilst also adding some much-needed momentum to their faltering promotion campaign.
“We have to enjoy these occasions and, as ever, we want to win every game,” he added.
“We want to be at home to Sheffield United in the fifth Round, a team in the top six in the Premier League at the moment. We’ll have to put in a very strong performance against Reading to be there.
“The FA Cup is a competition with great history and one which I and this football club have been fond of. Winning games and getting through builds momentum and belief within the group.”
Both the two previous meetings have produced controversy off the field, with accusations of racism and homophobia directed to Cardiff fans after the first tie.
— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) January 26, 2020
Those were fiercely denied by Cardiff with the club demanding an apology and the temperature did not cool last Friday in the Championship clash when one Reading fan was ejected from the stadium for making offensive gestures and another fan invaded the pitch.
Reading’s Welsh manager Mark Bowen said: “We will look to see what we can do to combat Cardiff, and what we can do to win the tie. We know how they’ll play and we’ll try to stamp our authority on the game.
“I’ll certainly be thinking about a team that is strong enough to go back to Cardiff and win the game. We have competition for places – that’s what any manager wants, and we’ve got that.
“We also got two new players into the club in the last few days, making it even harder for players to keep their places.”