Adam Reach hits the FA Cup trail with Preston North End this weekend, buoyed by some good memories of the competition in Middlesbrough colours last season.
The winger played against Manchester City and Arsenal in Boro’s run to the fifth round.
He came on as a substitute in their 2-0 victory over City at Eastlands, then did likewise in a 2-0 defeat against the Gunners.
On Saturday, Reach heads to Peterborough with the North End squad having this week extended his loan from Boro until the end of the season.
An ever-present since initially signing at the end of September, the 22-year-old is hoping to maintain his good form during the extension.
A victory at London Road would be a good start but awaiting them is a Posh side in good form.
Reach said: “The FA Cup is a great competition and produces some exciting one-off games.
“We have done our work on Peterborough this week and they will play expansive, attacking football.
“It is up to us to come up with a game plan and get a result to put us into the fourth round.
“I’ve got some good memories of the FA Cup – last season I played for Middlesbrough against Manchester City and Arsenal.
“We won 2-0 at City and then lost against Arsenal. I came on as substitute in both games.
“Boro also played against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup – we drew 2-2 but went out on penalties.”
There are no swapped shirts from those games framed in the Reach household.
“I’m not one to try and swap shirts or keep mementos from big matches,” said Reach.
“In the future I want to play in the Premier League every week.
“If I kept mementos, it would be as if playing against big teams is only a dream rather than realistic ambition.”
The decision to extend his loan until May was a simple one for Reach to make.
While his longer-term aim is to go back to Boro and push to play there next term, staying at Deepdale and playing regularly for the next few months is likely to help his cause.
“I was more than happy to extend the loan,” said Reach.
“It was the obvious choice for myself and both clubs. Middlesbrough are flying high so I didn’t think I would get back into their team any time soon, playing regularly anyway.
“The main thing was the two clubs agreeing everything and then my bit was to say yes, something I did straight away.
“From day one here, I was happy to make the stay longer if both clubs were happy.
“Sometimes in long-term loans, there is a period when you go back to your club for a couple of weeks while things get sorted.
“So to be able to stay and train here and for things to get sorted so quickly, was ideal.
“My main focus for the rest of the season is on Preston and doing the best I can here.
“I will keep an eye on Boro’s results, as I have been doing, and if Preston can help them along the way like we did by beating Burnley and Hull, that would be great.
“Hopefully when I go back, Preston will have had a good season and Middlesbrough will have been promoted.”
Reach’s debut for PNE was that crazy game on September 26 against Wolves when North End finished with nine men after red cards for Joe Garner and Bailey Wright.
The defeat at Sheffield Wednesday the following week was one of only four suffered during his time in the North West.
Said Reach: “Our results have really picked up and we have not lost many in the loan spell.
“There have probably been a few too many draws in there but with the gaffer bringing in players and the team really gelling, we have been picking up form.
“I don’t think confidence was ever low here, it was more a case of the team taking time to settle into the division and the lads believing they had a right to play at this level. Things have settled down since my debut against Wolves.
“That was a crazy game, which you sometimes get in the Championship.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it here and played in a few different roles, which has helped my game develop.
“The position I’ve played in recently along the front has been my favourite.
“There has been the freedom to move about within the front three.
“I’m an attacking player who wants to play high up the pitch and try and score goals.
“That said, the wing-back role which I played quite a bit was good, it just meant having the defensive responsibility too.
“Wherever I’m asked to play this weekend, I will be ready.
“Looking back at the loan, my best games were probably against Hull and Reading – those are the two which really stand out.
“As a team, our form has really picked up these last couple of months, with Huddersfield on Boxing Day the only disappointment in that time.
“Our aim is to continue getting results and climbing the table, consistently putting points on the board.
“Doing well in the FA Cup can help the league form, so we want to win at Peterborough.”