The FA Cup is “back in vogue” according to Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill whose team faces Blackburn at Villa Park today.
O'Neill, whose side meet Rovers again in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi final on Tuesday, felt the FA Cup had been in danger of diminishing in importance.
However, he believes the competition is enjoying a renaissance after its prestige took a blow in the 1999-2000 season, when Manchester United did not defend the trophy due to their World Club Championship commitments.
“The FA Cup is back in vogue,” he said. “I think it seemed to slide down the scale of importance.
“But it has regained its position as it is great competition and probably the best domestic competition in European football. I am glad to see that and I desperately want to stay in the competition.
Success in the FA Cup tie would also give Villa an advantage before the Carling Cup clash.
O'Neill said: “To draw first blood against Blackburn would psychologically do us no harm.”