Chris Porter insists he will enter tomorrow’s FA Cup quarter-final against Charlton Athletic in the best form of his Sheffield United career, writes James Shield.
And the striker, whose goals have helped propel the League One club to within 90 minutes of Wembley, last night thanked manager Nigel Clough for restoring his self-belief.
Porter appeared destined to leave Bramall Lane earlier this term after being allowed to join Chesterfield on loan by Clough’s predecessor David Weir.
But, after scoring four goals en route to the meeting with Athletic, he said: “This is the best period of time here. No on can argue it’s not been a bit up and down but hopefully I’ll keep on getting goals.
“I never doubted my own ability. I’ve scored goals at this level before in my career but confidence does get knocked when you’re not in the team.”
Porter, whose late penalty won November’s first-round tie at Colchester, added: “That kick-started by season. I wasn’t involved here under the previous manager.
“I was a bit unfit, probably because of that, I so perhaps I didn’t do as well on loan as I would have liked.
“But the new manager here has given me a chance straight away. I knew that if a chance did come here, or if a new manager came in, which is what happened, then I had to be ready and fit.”
Clough, who was appointed in October, yesterday rubbished suggestions that United are favourites to beat Chris Powell’s side.
Porter, a member of the team beaten by Huddersfield Town in the 2012 play-off final at Wembley, agreed, saying: “Charlton have good players and a good manager. They won’t be taking it lightly and neither will we.
“They’ve had a full week to focus on the game whereas we haven’t. They’re a Championship team and we are in League One so they are the favourites. But hopefully we can prove people wrong.”
“The last time we were at Wembley, it was devastating on the day,” Porter continued. “So to be 90 minutes away again, is a massive incentive.
“That was a great experience but the way we lost, to have your whole season of 50 odd games coming down to penalties, with the goalkeepers taking them, well, I don’t think I need to explain much more.
“I’ll never forget this run of games and the experiences we’ve had. Getting this far alone is some achievement.
“With the teams we’ve played, I don’t think many people would have given us a chance. Even financially, it’s been massive for the club.
“I think most neutrals, if we were to go through, would be behind us. If I get the opportunity to play or I come off the bench then I’ll be giving it my all.”