Charlton: Johnnie Jackson dreams of Wembley FA Cup semi-final

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Wembley 'would reward Charlton fans'

FA Cup Sixth Round: Sheffield United v Charlton Athletic

Venue:
Bramall Lane
Date:
Sunday, 9 March
Kick-off:
12:00 GMT
Coverage:
BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Sheffield and BBC London 94.9 and live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Charlton captain Johnnie Jackson says the prospect of an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley is spurring his side on.

The Addicks travel to Sheffield United on Sunday for a place in the last four.

"I am part of the last generation that grew up on that whole Cup final day and it being one of the biggest competitions," he told BBC London.

"I always dreamed of playing in a Cup final as a kid and the opportunity to play at Wembley, albeit not in the final, is an incredible prospect."

The 31-year-old added: "It is a massive game and a massive opportunity for the club, the players and the fans.

"Everyone has got a real buzz about them. Let's hope we can get the job done and get there."

Clive Mendonca celebrates after the 1998 play-off final
Charlton last played at Wembley in 1998, when Clive Mendonca scored a hat-trick in the play-off final

Charlton have not reached the semi-final stage of the FA Cup since they lifted the trophy in 1947 and have not played at Wembley since the 1998 Division One play-off final, when they beat Sunderland on penalties following a thrilling 4-4 draw, with striker Clive Mendonca scoring a hat-trick.

After relegation from the Premier League in 2007, the south east London club fell as far as the third tier before returning to the Championship in 2012.

Jackson, who moved to The Valley in 2010, says a chance to play at Wembley would be "brilliant for everyone" connected to the club.

"It would be huge," he said.

"This club has been through the mill in the last five years, coming out of the Premier League and then down to League One.

"We are on the way back again now. It would be a reward to all the fans for their loyalty.

"To have that day out at Wembley would be great. They still talk about that Clive Mendonca hat-trick.

"As soon as the Wembley prospect came up you started to hear more and more about it."

Charlton Athletic captain Don Welsh, holding the FA Cup, and winning goalscorer Chris Duffy (r, background) are chaired by their teammates during the lap of honour after the 1947 FA Cup final
Charlton have not reached the FA Cup semi-finals since they won the trophy in 1947, when they beat Burnley 1-0 after extra time

FA Cup semi-finals have been staged at the new Wembley since 2008, having previously been held at grounds such as Villa Park and Hillsborough.

Jackson says he has mixed feelings that the last four ties now take place at the national stadium.

"If you'd have asked me before the prospect of getting there I would have said I am a traditionalist and that they should be played at a neutral venue elsewhere and keep Wembley for the Cup final," the midfielder said.

"I think it takes a little bit away from the whole Cup final day and makes it a little less special having the semi-finals there.

"Now I have got the possible opportunity to play there I am glad they do [stage the semi-finals there].

"To get to the final for a club like Charlton is very, very tough. To get to a semi is tough but it is a real prospect now."

Charlton, who are battling relegation in the Championship, have not faced a Premier League side in this season's competition.

Meanwhile the Blades, who are 10th in League One, have giant-killing pedigree having knocked out top flight sides Aston Villa and Fulham and overcoming Championship side Nottingham Forest.

"I had a little look online and most of the bookies make them slight favourites, which I found a little strange," Jackson said.

"If we turn up and play as well as we can then we are the better side and we win. But it is football and the FA Cup and that doesn't always happen.

"We have seen they have had good results in their Cup run. They are on good form as well in the league and I suppose that is what the bookies are looking at.

"They have got good pedigree so far but we have had tough games as well.

"We have been away from home and always got the job done.

"We beat their neighbours and rivals [Sheffield Wednesday] in the last round so we are hoping to do the same again."

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