FA Cup tie excites Pascal Chimbonda

Pascal Chimbonda was on the bench in the 2006 World Cup final, but he has managed to find games which excite him at Carlisle United

Pascal Chimbonda
Pascal Chimbonda

Pascal Chimbonda has sat on the bench in a World Cup final, but he did not think the big games had passed him by when he moved to League One.

As far as the French defender is concerned, an FA Cup tie at the Stadium of Light qualifies as just that.

The 34-year-old spent an undistinguished half-season on Wearside in 2008 and is as excited about facing his old club as anyone at Carlisle United.

Yet Chimbonda has shown in two-and-a-half months at Brunton Park that, for all the big occasions he has been involved in, League One still gets his juices flowing.

He said: “When you’re in football you want to play in the big games and be part of the big competitions. We’ve played against Wolves this season, they used to be a Premier League team. We still have big games in League One.

“However, a game like this is a good opportunity not only for me, but everybody.

“Not many of the young players have played in a massive game like this so they will want to show they can compete against big players and they deserve to be at that level.”

Having played in the Cup for Wigan Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers and Carlisle with little success, Chimbonda knows anything is possible.

He added: “It’s a great chance for Carlisle, for the fans, for everybody.

“It’s the FA Cup – anything can happen. The game is 95 minutes and if we can stay compact we can cause Sunderland problems.

“It was a nice draw to play against Sunderland, although it’s always nicer to be at home in the FA Cup.

“You’re in the cup to win. I know some people have said this competition isn’t important for the Premier League teams but it is for the lower-league teams.

“Last season we saw Liverpool knocked out by Oldham – in this competition anything can happen. Small teams can beat big teams.

“When we play against the big teams we always perform well.

“A draw to take them back here would be good for everybody.”

Were that to happen, the replay would be on January 14.

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