Sez Les: Blades have a quiet coinfidence

Sheffield United FA Cup presser  10.4.14'Pic : Martyn Harrison' Nigel Clough  - Sheffield United ''� BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Sheffield United FA Cup presser 10.4.14'Pic : Martyn Harrison' Nigel Clough - Sheffield United ''� BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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So far, no team from the third tier of English football has reached a Wembley FA Cup Final. Can Sheffield United be the first one on Sunday?

A few have been in the last four but not been able to do it. But, there has to be a first time!

There seems to have been a quiet confidence around Bramall Lane that they are capable of doing it. I share that quiet confidence. With one proviso - that they score first!

Of course, they are quite some underdog. Premier League v League One usually is. But I suspect United’s management and the squad will note the wins over Villa and Fulham and know what is possible.

Whilst acknowledging the great win at Villa, the fourth round replay at Fulham might well have been some sort of turning point. They were coming off the back of their worst performance under Nigel Clough - a 3-0 defeat at Crewe - and few gave them a chance.

But to deny a Premier League side a goal across two hours on their own patch is no mean feat for a League One side. For the neutral, it was pretty turgid stuff and plenty of the national media - not least Adrian Chiles who was heading up the live coverage on the backwater of ITV4 - really gave it some stick. It is suggested that by the time United’s winner went in at the end of extra-time, viewing figures of those who hadn’t gone to bed or fallen asleep, was in the low thousands when not counting the Blades fans back in Sheffield.

But United had a template for success. It operated superbly that night. It proved a winning formula because they reeled off nine wins on the bounce.

Some might call it cautious, defensive, but they counter-attack with purpose and it has been successful. The players clearly believe in it. There are no secrets on Sunday. The 34,000 Blades fans travelling down there know how their team will set up and play.

Perhaps we really might be on the way to seeing a semi-final shock and a Wembley first.

Hopefully, Hull might just have a touch of over-confidence. After all, their fans must really be be fancying themselves for a first ever FA Cup Final. They’ve had some good wins against good teams and not been the easiest to beat either.

But like United, they don’t score many and both teams have their fair share of 1-0 wins. Really, United have to get in front, I can’t see them doing it if they concede first and have to chase it. Good luck to them!