Hignett hopes to end cup hoodoo

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The Independent Online

Craig Hignett would like some long-overdue Worthington Cup glory of his own as Blackburn Rovers face Sheffield Wednesday tonight for a place in their first major final in 42 years.

Few at Ewood Park can tell a sadder tale of near misses than Hignett and after a couple of loser's medals he is hoping for the chance to make it third time lucky. Hignett is Blackburn's man of the moment, with four goals in his last four starts, but his vital statistics in the Cup are what worry him. The Liverpudlian, now back in Graeme Souness's side, was defeated in one final with Middlesbrough in the same season that they lost an FA Cup and were also relegated.

The next time round Hignett was dropped on the day of the game – although he still got a medal and sympathy from a tearful Paul Gascoigne. "I'm a bit of a jinx, am I not?" he said. "I've played in an FA Cup final, two Worthington Cups and a play-off final – and lost them all."

But the midfielder is confident that Blackburn can see off Sheffield Wednesday to give him his next final appearance, and also believes that history will not be repeated. It has become a cliché that the Premiership is more important than cups, but Hignett knows the pitfalls of trying to chase too many targets. "We got relegated at Middlesbrough because we were in two cup finals," he said. "We had about five or six games in 11 or 12 days and it was too much for us. But we're lucky at Blackburn now because we have a great squad to pick from."

Also hoping to make it third time lucky is Sheffield Wednesday's Efan Ekoku who was twice a beaten semi-finalist with Wimbledon, losing on away goals to Leicester in 1997.

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