ROB Jones is eager to set out in pursuit of a dream as he returns to the Wednesday side.
It will be the captain’s first game for the Owls in the FA Cup, on the trail that ultimately can lead to every player’s goal, a Wembley final.
He missed the first-round 2-1 win at Morecambe because of injury but returns for tomorrow’s Hillsborough clash with Aldershot feeling that a possible pairing with a top-flight club in Sunday’s third-round draw is a big incentive.
Although knowing that the final is almost always contested by Premier League sides, the 32-year-old centre half says: “I grew up watching the FA Cup as a kid.
“It excites you the most. It is something every player looks forward to.
“I think it is massively important still. There have been so many great games in the FA Cup and some fantastic finals.
“Teams take it extremely seriously in the lower leagues and the Premier League, which shows how much it means to everybody.”
He cites Millwall as an example of a team who upset the odds by going all the way - they lost 3-0 to Manchester United in the 2004 final.
Cardiff were surprise finalists in 2008 - they were beaten 1-0 by Portsmouth.
Although a League One club cannot be seriously expected to get that far, Chris Lines knows that it is not impossible for a side from this level to enjoy a long run. When he played for Bristol Rovers they reached the quarter-finals. The clubs knocked out by the Pirates included Fulham and Southampton, before they lost 5-1 to West Brom.
Jones added: “You don’t look too far ahead in the FA Cup. You concentrate on one game at a time.
“As a player, you always dream about playing in the final but there is a lot of work to do before then.”
He warns against taking Aldershot too lightly: “It will be a big game for them and a tough one for us. They have nothing to lose. We have to make sure we give a good account of ourselves.
“There is a massive incentive to get into the third round. You always want to pit yourselves against the best players in the world.
“I don’t think the cup is a distraction. We have to take the game on its merits. It is the FA Cup; everybody wants to play in it and we are no different.
“We would rather be in it than out of it.”
Aldershot pulled off some shock results in the Carling Cup before being knocked out by Manchester United.
They won 2-1 away to West Ham and beat Rochdale and Carlisle at home, 2-1 and 2-0 respectively.
Their run was ended by a 3-0 home defeat by the Premier League champions.
The Shots needed a replay to get past non-league outfit Maidenhead in the FA Cup, winning 2-0 at home after a 1-1 draw.
Teams and ref
OWLS (possible): O’Donnell; Tavernier, R Jones, R Johnson, Bennett or Reynolds; O’Connor, Lines, Semedo, J Johnson; Lowe, O’Grady (4-4-2).
SHOTS (possible): Young, Herd, Jones, Morris, Straker, McGlashan, Guttridge, Collins, Rodman, Hylton, Rankine (4-4-2).
GRaham Salisbury (Lancashire): In 19 games this season has shown three red cards and 56 yellows - including the one for Gary Madine in the 1-0 win at Hartlepool after a prolonged protest by the striker; Madine was also fined under the Owls’ disciplinary code.