Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson has urged his players to seize the “opportunity to write a new chapter” for the club when they face Sheffield United in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Bramall Lane.
Getting past their fellow Championship promotion-chasers would see Rovers, last in the quarter-finals eight years ago, reach the semis for the first time since 2006-07, and make a maiden trip to the new Wembley stadium.
Tomasson, whose side advanced from the fifth round with a 2-1 win at Leicester, said: “It’s been an amazing cup campaign so far – being a giant-killer, beating West Ham away (on penalties after a 2-2 draw in the Carabao Cup third round) and in the FA Cup, which is the biggest cup in the whole world in my head, beating Leicester away – so two Premier League sides.
“All the credit to the lads and for Rovers, we haven’t been so far for a while. So it’s been an excellent run and we’re enjoying it.
“Of course, we all know you can lose the next game. We beat Sheffield United at home (1-0 in the league on March 4).
“But it is of course one of those sides that need to go up; if you look at the budget, the experience, how big the squad is and of course, parachute money, which is important in football isn’t it? We don’t have that here at the moment at Rovers.
“But on the other hand it’s also an opportunity for each player to write a new chapter in this great history and be part of a new history of the club. So it’s something we need to chase.
“There will only be one club winning the FA Cup in the end. We are not there, but we are allowed to dream about Wembley for sure, because just saying the word Wembley says enough about the passion and about this great competition.”
Blackburn’s history shows six FA Cup wins, the most recent in 1928, lifting the League Cup in 2002 and being crowned Premier League champions in 1995.
Out of the top flight for 11 years, they are currently fifth in the second tier – three places behind Sheffield United – and registered their sixth win in seven matches in all competitions with Wednesday’s 2-1 league victory over Reading.
Tomasson said: “We all know it’s been tough to be a Rovers fan the last decade, but I think the fans should always dream about better times and we are trying to create better times for the fans.”
The former Denmark forward succeeded Tony Mowbray as Rovers boss last summer, returning to English football having previously been with Newcastle during his playing career for the 1997-98 season.
That campaign included playing in the Magpies’ run to the FA Cup final at the old Wembley – although he was not in the matchday squad for that game, the 2-0 loss to Arsenal.
On the new Wembley, Tomasson said: “I haven’t been able to play there or see it in that way – so I’m really looking forward hopefully to going there. We should dream about it and I’m sure the lads are ready for that.
“The FA Cup goes back for ages. Of course I was in a final with Newcastle without playing, but still the memories and that passion and those traditions are very special and you only have it in England.
“It’s also one of the reasons actually, when I decided to work in England – I could have decided to work at different European clubs, but I chose to work in the second-highest league in England because of the passion and the way I think about football and generally the playing style in England is great.”