Sheffield United: Carsley comes out fighting

Tempers fray during last season's meeting between Sheffield United and Hartlepool at Bramall Lane
Tempers fray during last season's meeting between Sheffield United and Hartlepool at Bramall Lane
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Lee Carsley has confronted Sheffield United’s critics ahead of tonight’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie with Hartlepool.

And the former Republic of Ireland midfielder rubbished claims that manager David Weir, who enters the match searching for his first win since beating Scunthorpe in the previous round, would wilt under the pressure caused by that disappointing sequence of results.

Carsley, deputising for Weir at yesterday’s media briefing, said: “David is fine. He’s very calm and level-headed.

“He’s absolutely different class in that regard and always has been.

“No matter what happens, good or bad, he’s always grounded and focused which is superb.”

“We’re all fighters,” Carsley added. “We’re all battlers and we have fought throughout our entire careers, long before coming here and that is never going to change.

“We’re definitely not walking away. Not a chance.

“We’ll fight and fight hard to turn it around. We’re all used to pressure.

“Everyone is under pressure in football. It’s nothing new to us. We’re used to being under it every single day.”

Carsley, Weir’s assistant with special responsibility for technical affairs, played alongside the 43-year-old at Everton where they were managed by David Moyes.

The Manchester United supremo is among several high-profile figures who have lent their support in recent weeks as Weir, Carsley and fellow assistant Adam Owen battle to prove the sceptics wrong.

Carsley, whose appearance at the Redtooth Academy was announced before Friday’s League One draw with Crawley Town, said: “Knowing that you have got someone like David’s support is excellent.

“It’s very reassuring when he tells you to keep on doing what you are doing and to stick to your beliefs.”

United reached the second round of the competition when they beat Brian Laws’ side on penalties last month.

However, Marlon King’s second-half goal secured only a first point in league competition since August’s stalemate with Colchester.

United, who reported no fresh injury concerns when they resumed training over the weekend, are expected to name a strong squad for the visit of Hartlepool.

“We are all okay,” Carsley said. “It wasn’t ideal to draw at home but at least it put an end to the losses and the lads showed great character to come back.”

“We have a plan and a way we want to do things,” Carsley added. “Things that need to be done.

“But every plan is liable to change. They always do in fact.

“We’ll keep working hard to discover the right formula for bringing the success we want.

“We are no different to anyone else. We all want it yesterday too.”

However Colin Cooper, Weir’s counterpart at Victoria Park, expects to be without experienced defender Sam Collins and midfielder Matty Dolan.

“Matty is a question mark,” Cooper explained. “It’s touch and go, it’s very difficult if you have tweaked your groin on Friday, you can’t play Saturday to then go and play on a Tuesday.

“We’ll have to have a look at it. But it presents opportunities for other people.

“There are some bodies hurting so we need to see how everyone is feeling.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1