Dawson targets Wembley trip
Michael Dawson hopes this will be the year that he finally ends his long wait to lead Tottenham to glory at Wembley.
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Andre Villas-Boas relegated club captain Dawson to fifth-choice centre-back at the start of the season, but the Tottenham manager has regained his trust in the England international recently, and Dawson looks every inch the regular fixture in the side that he had become over the seven years he has been at the club.
During his time at Spurs, Dawson has been to Wembley three times but has never been on the winning side.
He tasted defeat at the semi-final stage of the FA Cup in 2010 and 2012 against Portsmouth and Chelsea respectively, while he was also in the team that lost on penalties to Manchester United in the League Cup final four years ago.
The only time Spurs have been successful at Wembley of late was five years ago when they beat Chelsea in the League Cup final, but much to Dawson's dismay, he missed the game through injury.
But having been impressed by a pep talk by Villas-Boas at the start of the season, Dawson is convinced this could be the year he gets to lift a trophy with the north London club.
"We spoke to the gaffer at the start of the season and we said we want to win trophies, as players and as a team," the Tottenham skipper told Spurs TV Online.
"That's what you look back on at the end of your career. We have had two Wembley trips in the League Cup - one win and one loss.
"Wembley is a special place. To go up those steps and lift that cup would be special.
"And every player will say the same as me - the FA Cup is massive for us.
"We've had some good runs in it, we have been to Wembley twice, but had both unfortunate experiences against Portsmouth and Chelsea for different reasons.
"We want to go all the way and it would be a dream come true to do that."
Typically for such a straight-headed man, Dawson will not speak about his dream of lifting the trophy without a gentle reminder to himself that there is still a long way to go before that can happen.
Spurs have potentially one of the trickiest ties of the fourth round in the form of a trip to Elland Road to face Leeds.
Although Sunday's opponents have suffered a dramatic fall from grace since their recent glory days, Dawson has warned his team-mates they could be knocked out of the competition if they do not perform to their best.
"It's a one-off game. If we are not at the races we will come unstuck," the former Nottingham Forest defender said.
"Leeds have some good players. It will be a sell-out, the fans will be right behind them and the atmosphere will be rocking so we have to be ready.
"It's a massive football club, one that wants to be back in the Premier League, but for ourselves we have to be professional and do a job. It will be a tough battle.
"Neil Warnock always gets his teams up for them so we have to be ready and we certainly will be."
Dawson has had mixed experiences of playing against the Whites in the FA Cup.
Three years ago he gave away the stoppage-time penalty which allowed Leeds to draw 2-2 in the fourth round at White Hart Lane, but the defender was also part of the team that romped to a 3-1 win in the replay.
"We were leading and their late goal came as a result of my tackle," Dawson said.
"We knew how difficult the replay would be, but JD (Jermain Defoe) got a hat-trick in the replay and it would be nice to see the same again on Sunday."