Sheffield United: Blades plan lasting cup legacy

John Brayford (centre) is mobbed by team mates after scoring against Charlton Athletic
John Brayford (centre) is mobbed by team mates after scoring against Charlton Athletic
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The effects of what John Brayford described as “90 magical minutes” could reverberate through Bramall Lane for the next 12 months after Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough revealed the financial implications of reaching this season’s FA Cup semi-finals.

Clough predicted Sunday’s victory over Charlton Athletic, which saw United become the first third tier club to reach the last four of the competition since Wycombe Wanderers in 2001, will accelerate its bid to regain Championship status if, as expected, play-off qualification proves elusive this term.

“This is a huge achievement, “ Clough, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s League One fixture against Carlisle, said. “We really shouldn’t under-estimate just how important it could be.

“It could enable us to keep hold of some players and keep moving forward. Keep on trying to improve.

“But the most important thing right now is that it’s put a smile back on people’s faces here. And that is as pleasing as anything.”

United, who have banked £742,500 in prize money alone en route to next month’s meeting with Hull City at Wembley, are expected to use a slice of those earnings to improve their playing surface. Another could be dangled in front of Brayford, whose goal effectively sealed United’s progress, to try and secure his services permanently following a successful loan from Cardiff City.

“We want to try and build something,” Clough said. “Put this to good use.”