Quique Sanchez Flores admits not knowing the identity of their FA Cup quarter-final opponent until potentially three training days before the tie is less than ideal.
It was confirmed yesterday that Hull City will host Arsenal in the fifth-round replay on Tuesday, March 8 at the unusual time of 7pm. Hull have a Championship match against Nottingham Forest on the Tuesday after quarter-final weekend so it was announced this afternoon they would host Watford on Saturday, March 12 at midday.
Arsenal, meanwhile, travel to the Nou Camp on the Wednesday so they can afford to play a day later on the Sunday, but a tie against them has been given an earlier kick-off time of 1.30pm to give them maximum time to prepare for a daunting trip to Barcelona.
The uncertainty creates logistical problems for Watford’s ticket office as they will have three days to sell and distribute potentially 3,800 away tickets for a visit to the KC Stadium or as many as 9,000 should the last-eight tie be at the Emirates. They have already stated, on their website, that sales for this tie will be online only and generously announced any coach travel will be £1.
Sanchez Flores is a studious planner and will only be able to start preparing and implementing his carefully-crafted gameplan for his quarter-final opponents on the Wednesday morning.
“It’s not the way I like to work,” he said this morning. “I like to be on the computer, to analyse well and not be in a hurry. When I was working in Europe, in Spain and in Portugal, it is like this always, so I accept it.”
The head coach would not be drawn this morning by the national media on any talk of a first trip to Wembley as a player, coach or supporter.
“I don’t want to talk about a semi-final,” he said. “We have to play the quarter-final. We don’t know the opponent so we are sharing the dream with the fans right now. We are through three rounds and we are waiting for the next one. We’ll see what happens.”