Striker John Carew believes Aston Villa should be challenging in the latter stages of the Carling Cup every season as they look to book a quarter-final spot at the expense of Sunderland.
Villa have had a dismal record in the competition in recent years and crashed to underdogs Leicester and QPR on home soil at the second round stage in the previous two campaigns. But they overcame Cardiff in the third round last month and victory at the Stadium Of Light would secure a place in the last eight.
Carew said: "In the last two years we went out of this competition in the second round and this is a trophy we can really go for and should be fighting for."
He added: "Teams around us (in the Barclays Premier League) have reached quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals and there is no reason why we can't be there as well.
"It is important for Villa to do well in this competition having gone out of Europe. We are not in the Europa League anymore and we have to focus on this one.
"It is a chance to win a big trophy and we really have to go for it.
"As a big team, who are high up in the Premier League, we should be participating in quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals in this tournament - every year."
Villa boss Martin O'Neill reached the final of the competition three times in four years when manager of Leicester who lifted the trophy in 1996 and 2000 after being runners-up in 1999.
Now he wants Villa to achieve success but recognises Sunderland will provide a tough test.
O'Neill said: "I know during the last couple of years we have got knocked out early on which has been a big disappointment. But this time around we don't have European football to go for and I would dearly love to do well in the competition if it is at all possible."
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