Portsmouth seeking revenge for Smith

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The Independent Football

Jim Smith, the Portsmouth assistant manager, heads for Liverpool tomorrow for an FA Cup fifth-round tie still smarting from the way Liverpool knocked him out of a Cup final appearance 12 years ago.

Smith was in charge of Portsmouth against Graeme Souness' Liverpool in the semi-final in 1992 when Pompey went so close to a Wembley final.

The teams drew the first match and Pompey led the replay 1-0 until a late goal forced extra time and penalties and Liverpool came out on top.

Smith, now 63, said: "Everyone talks about 1992 when we went out to Liverpool in the replay at Villa Park. We did not lose to them because they only got through on penalties, which is a terrible way to go out at the best of times. For it to happen in a semi-final replay made it even worse. I was in charge back then and it would be great to put that result right with a win up at Anfield.

"It is a big, big game for us but there will not be any pressure because we go to Anfield as underdogs. It could have been a better draw. Liverpool away is always tough and we would much rather have been playing them at home.

"But anything can happen in the Cup. That is its great beauty, and we go to Anfield hoping to pull off an upset even though our squad is so depleted."

The Birmingham manager, Steve Bruce, won three FA Cups with Manchester United as a player, and as his side take on Sunderland today he hopes to repeat that feat as manager.

Bruce believes Birmingham may never have a better chance of tasting some overdue Cup success. "Birmingham have never won the Cup and this is a great opportunity to make amends," Bruce said.

"But I am in no way underestimating Sunderland. As a Geordie I am fully aware that it will be a tough game."