McSporran's aim

Monday 14 January 2002

Jermaine McSporran wants to make up for the FA Cup run that got away by helping Wycombe Wanderers pull off another shock in Tuesday night's third-round replay at Fulham.

The speedy front man, who last week at Adams Park scored the goal that gave the Nationwide League second division team a 2-1 lead against their Premiership opponents, missed Wycombe's tremendous run to last year's semi-final against Liverpool with a cruciate knee ligaments injury which sidelined him for 10 months.

Now 25 year-old McSporran is determined to play his part in maintaining Wycombe's mantle as giant-killers. He said: "I was on the sidelines at Leicester last season when we went 2-1 up and held on, and I thought we were going to do it again last week. Fulham will be making a big mistake if they think they've done the hard part, though."

The former Oxford City forward spent a week on trial at Arsenal three years ago, scoring two goals against Charlton Athletic reserves, and he turned down a similar opportunity at West Ham in order to sign for Wycombe for £75,000. He scored twice in a 4-2 Worthington Cup victory away to Wolves the following season as Wycombe warmed up for their FA Cup adventure.

But it all went sour last season for the Manchester-born player whose team-mates call him 'Jocky' for the Scottish half of his parentage. His left knee was ripped apart against Wigan Athletic last December and he was out of action for eight months as the club enjoyed its finest hour.

Indeed, Lawrie Sanchez's team won at Leicester City in the quarter-final despite having Roy Essandoh - who had signed after answering an advert on the internet - as their main striker. They faced Liverpool at Villa Park and survived 78 minutes before bowing out in a heroic 2-1 defeat.

McSporran said: "You wanted to be part of it, but I was there to support the boys the best I could. They were having to scratch around for a striker and I was there, watching, thinking 'this could have been me'. Against Liverpool especially, the boys did so well defensively and yet had nothing up front and I thought maybe I could have changed the game. But it was a great achievement by the team and it certainly put us on the map."

Now McSporran - of whom Alan Hansen said on 'Match of the Day' last week: "Great name, great pace" wants to make a name for himself on the park. Certainly Alain Goma, who felled McSporran for Wycombe's equalising penalty last week, will be more on his toes for the replay.

"It's a great name to have at the moment and I'm pleased people remember it," McSporran said. "Now I just need the footwork to go with it. We produced a shock in drawing 2-2 with Fulham last week, but I don't see why we can't do it again.

"Having played no real part last season, it meant a lot to me to have a big Cup game again this year. The fact that I put in a good performance helped prove to myself that I can do well against teams of that level. It's about finding consistency for me now. You can be more fired up for Fulham than for Wrexham, but I know I have to have the same mental attitude for all the games."

Wycombe are set to be missing leading goalscorer Andy Rammell and captain Paul McCarthy, who were both injured against Fulham, plus right back Danny Senda. But Sean Devine, the club's £220,000 record signing who has missed 20 months with a knee injury, is in the squad.