You’ll have to forgive West Bromwich Albion's Marek Cech for not necessarily being ‘up for the cup’ right now.
The Baggies defender has been out of action for several weeks after suffering a triple metatarsal fracture during Albion’s win at Leyton Orient in last month’s Carling Cup game.
The timing could not have been worse – Cech had started the season well and was keeping Nicky Shorey out of the side.
The better news is that Cech should be back in action after the forthcoming international break.
But the last few weeks have not been easy for the Slovakian, not least as he was accused of feigning his injury by Orient supporters – a sentiment which offended him.
Once he is fit, his next job will be to dislodge Shorey, who has been impressive since coming into the Baggies side.
“My injury is getting better,” he said.
“I had crutches, then a boot but now I am walking without any aid.
“But I’m still not ready to do a job. The whole thing has been disappointing.
“I dribbled the ball and as I pushed the ball in front of me the player came in from my right side and caught my foot.
“He stepped on it and broke three bones in my foot. I was lying on the pitch and got abuse from the Leyton Orient fans who thought I was simulating.
“It was very bad for me and upsetting because I was badly hurt.
“At the time I was playing well, we’d beaten Sunderland and were heading for Liverpool so it was a disappointing time for me.
“I wanted to stay in the team longer than I was. But I will be jogging soon and I hope to be back to my best soon and ready to challenge Nicky, who has done well.
“The last few weeks haven’t been good. And I didn’t realise it was broken.
“I knew it was bad when I couldn’t walk after I got off the coach back in Birmingham. I was hoping it was a nerve or bruising but it was obviously worse.
“It was a bad tackle – he didn’t touch the ball. But it happens. The moment I flicked the ball in front of me, he caught me.
“This isn’t a bad injury and I will get over it. Other people are less lucky. Some people have long injuries who are out for long times and miss major tournaments.
“I spoke to Jose (Bosingwa). He missed the World Cup, he missed winning the title with Chelsea. That’s a lot to cope with.
“So I have to be positive. Nicky has come in and done a good job. Once I’m fit I will do what I can to get back in. We will see how it will be when I recover.
“I am about two weeks away and we have an international break coming up so I should recover around then.”
Cech, meanwhile, hopes Albion fans will give Paul Robinson a warm welcome when he returns to the Hawthorns on Saturday.
Robinson moved to Bolton last summer on an initial loan spell, which was converted into a permanent deal last January.
The 31-year-old made 238 appearances during a five year period for the Baggies but his final season was blighted by innuendo over his commitment to Albion.
Club officials had hinted that he had tried, and failed, to secure moves to Wigan and Sunderland on medical grounds, claims which were backed up by Baggies chairman Jeremy Peace at the time.
Robinson denied those accusations.
And the left-back also came under fire during Albion’s last Premier League campaign when he kept his place, despite a dip in form and increasing pressure for then manager Tony Mowbray to bring in Cech.
Mowbray refused to do so, despite Cech being named man-of-the-match for a game against Spurs during the festive period when Robinson was injured.
Cech was surprisingly dropped for the next League game – Robinson returning for the defeat at Villa.
But Cech bears no ill-feeling to Robinson despite describing that period as the ‘worst time of his career’.
And he hopes that the Bolton player’s contribution to the club will be appreciated by the supporters on Saturday.
“Paul was playing here for many years, five or six years,” Cech said.
“It would be very disappointing for any player if he plays and gives everything to a club during that time – he was captain at times – and he wasn’t given a good reception.
“The people, the fans should receive him well. Paul did nothing but good for the club. He never showed any anger to the supporters, he never let them down on the pitch.
“He always had a good relationship with the club and fans and I hope he gets a good welcome.
“He was a very good and funny guy.
“I must stress that I always got on well with Paul. I couldn’t judge him over what was the manager (Tony Mowbray). It was his final decision.
“It wasn’t up to him – he could hardly say that he didn’t want to play. That responsibility was down to the manager.
“Paul could only do what he was told to do, as any footballer.
“It was a difficult time for me. I did everything in training, in games to be a member of the first XI but he (Mowbray) had an opinion and I couldn’t do anything. I can’t blame Paul for that.”