Jack Wilshere is ready to renew acquaintances with the FA Cup and will have a point to prove when Bournemouth host Crawley in the fourth round on Tuesday.
The former Arsenal midfielder has not played in the competition since the 2015 final when the Gunners lifted the trophy with a 4-0 win over Aston Villa.
Arsene Wenger used Wilshere as a substitute on that day at Wembley, but a culmination of factors mean the 29-year-old has not featured in the competition since.
Having joined the Cherries on a deal until the end of the season, he will now get the chance to end his absence from the tournament when Crawley visit the Vitality Stadium a few days later than planned after an outbreak of Covid-19 cases at the Sky Bet League Two club.
“It has been a while since I was involved in the FA Cup,” Wilshere said.
“I love the FA Cup. When I was a younger player that was an opportunity for me to try and work my way into the Premier League team.
“Arsene was always good at that, but now I am at a different stage of my career and I’m looking to try and get minutes to prove my fitness.
“We want to win the game. It’s the FA Cup and against a team from a lower division, which will bring different challenges, so it will be a difficult game and we will have to be ready for the fight from the first minute.”
Since he left West Ham in October, Wilshere has been on the lookout for a new challenge and decided to return to Bournemouth this month after he enjoyed a successful loan spell with the club during the 2016-17 campaign.
While Eddie Howe departed following relegation from the Premier League in July, Jason Tindall has stepped up from assistant manager and steadied the ship.
He has guided the Cherries to sixth in the Championship and victory over Crawley would set up a fifth-round meeting at Burnley, but fighting for promotion remains the number one priority.
Wilshere added: “It will be difficult because there are a lot of games, but I think the manager here – after watching the previous round (against Oldham) – uses it as an opportunity to give the players who haven’t played as many games some minutes.
“It gives them an opportunity to do well and get in the Championship team.
“There will be a lot of changes and a lot of players with a point to prove and I am one of them as well.
“I need to get fit and try to get in the team and will give it my all on Tuesday if selected and I am sure the players around me will be the same.”
Wilshere made his second Bournemouth debut as a late substitute in the 1-0 loss at Derby last week.
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