West Ham united v Barnsley: Greatest Cup competition in the world – Robins

MARK ROBINS believes the FA Cup is still the premier cup competition in the world and is hopeful his Barnsley team can make an impression in it this season.

Robins won the competition as a player with Manchester United in 1990 and the Reds knocked out Liverpool and Chelsea en route to a Wembley semi-final four years ago.

The FA Cup has suffered from falling attendances and apathy from the top clubs in recent years but Robins believes the competition has lost none of its lustre.

"I've never heard anybody ever say it is anything but the premier cup competition in the world," said Robins, whose Championship side visit Premier League strugglers West Ham today.

"The FA Cup is that little bit different, it's watched all over the world, and for our country it's a big competition and one everybody wants to do well in.

"Because it consists of everybody, starts in September and you have opposition coming from lower leagues, it just captures everybody's imagination.

"Any opportunity to get anywhere near a final for us would be absolutely outstanding. The tradition is there at this club and, hopefully, we can do it justice.

"It's a good competition and you always want to be involved in it and you always want to be involved in the next draw.

"The supporters will want it because they enjoyed the run last time, they'll look back on the semi-final with mixed emotions but beating Liverpool and Chelsea on the way was fantastic.

"If we can have anything like that we'll be delighted because it'll mean we've got past West Ham."

West Ham's mini-revival in the Premier League was checked on Wednesday when they were thrashed at Newcastle United, and with a Carling Cup semi-final against Birmingham City next week, Robins is unsure what Hammers outfit his in-form Reds will face.

"We're underdogs, no doubt about that, whatever position they're in, they are still a Premier League team," he said. "They'll be hurting from Newcastle on Wednesday, they've got a big, big semi-final next Tuesday and in between that it's us.

"We may face a backlash. The thing in our favour is we are a decent side.

"We're going down there to enjoy it, but we want a good cup run because it could make a big difference to this club.

"It's a big task and a big opportunity and a great game for us to play in."