Dunne eyeing Wembley return

Alan Dunne is savouring Millwall's FA Cup run and is targeting a Wembley appearance to banish the ghosts of 2004.

Last Updated: 09/03/13 at 13:37 Post Comment

Alan Dunne: Unused sub on last Wembley appearance

Alan Dunne: Unused sub on last Wembley appearance

Defender Alan Dunne is savouring Millwall's run in the FA Cup and is targeting a Wembley appearance to banish the ghosts of nine years ago.

Dunne is one of only two members of the Lions' current squad who was at the club for their FA Cup final appearance back in 2004, when Dennis Wise's side were beaten 3-0 by Manchester United at the Millennium Stadium.

The 30-year-old has been a fixture in the Millwall side over recent years but was an unused substitute for the showpiece event against the 11-time winners of the competition.

The Lions have a chance to reach the FA Cup final once more and face a quarter-final tie at home to fellow npower Championship side Blackburn on Sunday afternoon, with victory setting up a Wembley semi-final.

However, Millwall have won just once in the league since New Year's Day and have lost their last three home matches, meaning Kenny Jackett's side have slipped out of the play-off picture.

Dunne draws comparisons with the season under Wise when players had one eye on the cup run and were determined not to miss out on the chance to face United.

"It is a very similar season to 2004, our league form dipped at the time," said Dunne.

"Players were on eight or nine yellow cards and players were worried about injuries and it did affect our league form so it is very similar to this year."

A 2-0 home defeat to struggling Wolves on Tuesday night was not the ideal preparation for the visit of Blackburn and Dunne thinks the current crop of players may be having similar thoughts to those of the 2004 squad.

"It maybe that in the back of their heads a few of the boys might have had the cup game in mind, as much as you don't want to," he said.

"You try and eradicate it from your mind but sometimes it happens and you don't play your best and Tuesday night was not good enough.

"We know that and the manager knows that so the players need to look at themselves and get that right."

The experience of nine years ago is bittersweet for Dunne, who as a young defender sat on the bench and watched as a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo and Ruud van Nistelrooy's brace wrap up the trophy for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

But he has fond memories of the experience and wants to taste it all again this season.

He said: "I had a chance of playing until a couple of nights before so it was upsetting in that sense.

"Still, I can't be ungrateful to be part of it and on the bench in a side with quality like Tim Cahill, Kevin Muscat and Dennis Wise.

"To be part of that is still something to be grateful for and to get a medal is a fantastic achievement.

"It was a fantastic memory for a young boy, travelling and staying in the hotel the night before, the coach, the fans and going to Europe.

"It was just a fantastic atmosphere and as a young boy it just made you want more success.

"It would be nice to get to Wembley, I think the fans deserve it and the manager deserves it more than anyone.

"Some of the boys might never get the chance to play at Wembley so to get to the semi-final would be great and breed confidence as well which we can take into our league form."

The Lions recorded a 2-0 win at Ewood Park earlier in the season when Rovers were struggling to find form after dropping out of the Barclays Premier League.

But a change in manager and a number of highly-rated players means Dunne will not be taking the challenge lightly.

"Obviously Jordan Rhodes is a big player for them and we know about their quality," he said.

"[Morten Gamst] Pedersen, [Martin] Olsson and [Danny] Murphy - they are all experienced players who have come down from the highest level.

"They will know it is a tough game coming to the Den and they won't be looking forward to it but we have to be wary of their danger players without a shadow of a doubt."


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