David Moyes is relishing an Emirates FA Cup reunion with Shrewsbury Town, but knows there are plenty of Premier League points to play for ahead of his return to Shropshire.
Both West Ham United manager Moyes and goalkeeper Joe Hart played for the Shrews earlier in their careers, with the former totalling 108 appearances for the Shropshire club between 1987-90.
The Scot has since faced his old club twice as a manager, first in the FA Cup third round during his first full season at Everton back in 2003, then in an EFL Cup second-round tie at Sunderland in August 2016.
“There is obviously a lot of football to play and a very busy run of fixtures before we can focus on the trip to Shrewsbury but I’m sure there will be a lot of excitement once we get closer to the game,” Moyes told whufc.com.
The manager reached the FA Cup final with Everton back in 2009 and would love to repeat that achievement with West Ham, giving the Claret and Blue Army a first major final in eleven years and day out at Wembley in the process.
“I know how important the cup competitions are to West Ham fans, and I also know they will give us great support up at New Meadow,” he observed.
Shrewsbury got the better of Moyes’ Everton back in January 2003, when the Shropshire side were managed by Toffees legend Kevin Ratcliffe, but the former Shrews defender did beat his old club when Sunderland scored a 1-0 victory at the Stadium of Light last season.
Shrewsbury will present a difficult obstacle to overcome again this time around, with Paul Hurst’s side flying high in the League One table. Town have lost just five matches all season and are in position to return to the second tie for the first time in 29 years.
Moyes, for one, is well aware of the threat posed by the Shrews, but will only turn his attention to the Emirates FA Cup after his side have contended with a busy Christmas and New Year period in the Premier League.
“Shrewsbury are going very well in League One, and it is a club I know well having spent three years there as a player.
“The tie will be a fantastic occasion for them and we will give their team the utmost respect, but we have seven very important Premier League matches to play before then and that is our only focus at the minute.”
West Ham, who have never met Shrewsbury previously in a knockout competition, will travel to the New Meadow over the weekend of 5-8 January 2018. The date, kick-off time and ticket details will be confirmed in due course.