Tim Howard eager for return trip to Wembley with Everton in the FA Cup
The Toffees were beaten by Liverpool in the semi-finals last season
Wednesday 27 February 2013
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard wants to bring the Wembley feelgood factor back to Goodison Park.
David Moyes' side are a game away from returning to the national stadium after overcoming Oldham 3-1 in a replay last night to set up a home FA Cup quarter-final against Wigan.
Last season, the Toffees suffered capital punishment at the hands of city rivals Liverpool in a 2-1 semi-final defeat - a memory Howard and his team-mates would like to banish.
"The way Wembley makes me feel, makes the team feel and makes the fans feel gives you drive to get back there," he said.
"It's always tough to lose to Liverpool in those circumstances on the big occasion so getting over it's never easy.
"You kind of puff your chest out when you know you're going to go to Wembley - everyone gets excited, the ticket requests all come in and people are singing the songs.
"So it's important but for us to get to it we've got to take care of Wigan.
"The draw's been favourable, we got a home draw finally, so that's good."
Victory over their npower League One opponents at the second time of asking ended a February run of four winless games for Everton.
Howard accepts they have fallen short of their impressive early-season form in recent weeks but maintains there are many teams who would wish to trade places.
He said: "I don't think we're firing on all cylinders but at the moment but I think it's a good thing - we've advanced in the cup, we've got a home draw and when you look at the league table we're still in the thick of it.
"We're going to have to start doing the business but we're still there. I feel like I'd rather not be firing on all cylinders and be where we are than not.
"Let's hope we have something in reserve. We spent a lot of energy early in the season and now it's just about our big players.
"The teams around us have the ability to chop and change their team on a given weekend and still have a lot of firepower.
"At the moment we don't have that so it's just going to be about our big players who have played a ton of minutes to keep producing until the end of the season."
Marouane Fellaini, arguably the biggest of those players Howard refers to in both stature and influence, is pushing to return from a foot injury when Reading visit Goodison on Saturday - the second of four consecutive home matches in all competitions.
"It's a good run," Howard added. "We've got some tricky away fixtures between now and the end of the season so it will be important that we take full advantage of it because we know it's going to be tough.
"Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea - those are game we still have left away from home.
"If we can get through this period and pick up a bunch of points then we'll be in the thick of it then."
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