Cup a welcome distraction for Given and Villa

By Aidan Fitzmaurice

SHAY Given is hoping for more success - and more importantly, some game time - in the FA Cup this weekend.

Struggling in the Premier League, Villa really could do with a Cup run to ease the pressure from home fans and also give supporters a glimmer of hope for a trophy success this season.

Given, 38, could really do with some time on the field, the Donegal man hoping that Paul Lambert will again rotate his squad and rest senior players, especially No. 1 keeper Brad Guzan for the very tricky tie against Championship high-fliers Bournemouth.

He has played for the club just twice this season, both in Cup ties with the most recent an unimpressive FA Cup third-round win over Blackpool.

"I have some good memories of the FA Cup, it's a historic Cup competition, and people talk about it all over the world," says Given, a beaten finalist with Newcastle United.

"I've played in it many times. It's got a great history and a great feel about it. You love playing in the FA Cup.

"It produces great excitement for the players and it's fantastic for the fans as well."

Defeated in their last two Premier League games, Villa need to see a lift in form tomorrow, the side still bruised by last week's loss to Liverpool.

"We're disappointed after the Liverpool game but the good thing about football is that another game comes round pretty quickly afterwards. Everyone's vying for a position tomorrow to start the game," says Given as the Cherries come to Villa Park.

"Once you get back out on the training pitch you forget about the game gone by and you look to get that winning feeling back again in the next match.

"Football is all about confidence - and breeding confidence. If you can pick up victories in the cup competitions you're looking for that to filter into the Premier League.

"Even when you're playing five-a-side and you win a match, you're happy.

It obviously goes up a notch when you're playing at a competitive level so hopefully we can get the right result on Sunday and then take it into our Premier League campaign."