Everton manager Roberto Martinez insisted that the FA Cup is not needed to save his side's season, but a cup run would certainly provide a saving grace for Martinez and Everton after another frustrating season.
The Toffees travel to Bournemouth in the fifth round of the cup on Saturday and a defeat will only intensify the pressure on Martinez, while another lengthy run in the competition will go some way towards convincing his growing band of doubters that he is the right man to lead Everton.
Cup success would be a huge lift to a club that is underachieving
Fourteen other clubs have won major trophies since Everton last lifted silverware in 1995, including Portsmouth, Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic and 20 years without a trophy does not conform to a club that remains one of the most successful clubs in the country.
This is, of course, the club of Dixie Dean, the Holy Trinity of Ball, Kendall and Harvey, and arguably the finest team in Europe during the mid-1980s when they won the FA Cup, two league titles and the European Cup Winners' Cup under Howard Kendall.
Roberto Martinez's current squad is one of the best squads Everton have assembled since the glory days of the 1980s and there is a general consensus that the Toffees should be doing better than they are, especially with exciting talents such as John Stones, Ross Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku.
A first trophy in 21 years will certainly give the club a huge lift, especially after witnessing another frustrating season at Goodison Park. Everton's FA Cup journey continues this weekend when they return to the scene of their dramatic 3-3 draw with Bournemouth on Saturday. Their last trip to Dean Court summed up their season, but their next one needs to change it.
The Toffees' attacking prowess is no secret, but their defensive lapses and inability to defend winning positions has been their Achilles heel this season. Their draw with Bournemouth was a microcosm of their season; they scored three away goals, including a 95th minute strike that looked to be the winner. However, despite leading 2-0 and then scoring what appeared to be a very late winner, the Toffees had to settle for a point.
Last weekend against West Bromwich Albion was a defeat that highlighted season trends for Martinez's side and it was a missed opportunity for the Toffees, especially after seeing Manchester United lose to Sunderland earlier in the day. A sixth home defeat of the season left Everton in 11th place in the Premier League, six points behind United in fifth.
Therefore, Europa League qualification may be a challenge through the league, meaning that the FA Cup boasts the Toffees best chance at playing in Europe next season and it also means that they can have a bigger focus on the cup this season. Winning matches breeds confidence and a cup run could provide the all important momentum that can be the catalyst for Everton to finish the season strongly both in the cup and league.
Not only could it prove to be a catalyst, but it could prove to be the pinnacle of Everton's season. Winning the FA Cup and giving their tens of thousands of devoted supporters a day out at Wembley to remember would certainly give a huge lift to a club that has underachieved for so long.
A cup run could be the saving grace Martinez needs
There is no doubting that this is a key period for Roberto Martinez. Not only is it nearly three years since he promised Champions League football and has so far failed to deliver, but with the club edging closer to a takeover, there is no guarantee any future owner will have the faith Bill Kenwright has shown during his tenure as the club's chairman.
There was a wave of optimism that Roberto Martinez would be the man to end Everton's trophy drought, especially after it was his FA Cup success with Wigan Athletic in 2013 that persuaded Bill Kenwright that Martinez was the right man to succeed David Moyes as Everton manager.
The jury is still out on whether Martinez was the right man to succeed the Scot. A fifth place finish in his first season at Goodison Park was a highly promising start, but Martinez suffered with a case of second season blues, with the Blues finishing outside the top-10 for the first time since the 2005/06 season.
This season has been similarly frustrating and there has been a growing sense of impatience and frustration amongst the Goodison faithful, particularly at their home form. As supporter's tolerance with Roberto Martinez is running out, another lengthy run in the competition will go some way towards convincing his growing band of doubters that he is the right man to lead Everton.