Nigel Clough hopes Sheffield United’s memorable FA Cup victory over Aston Villa can inspire his team to even greater achievements over the coming seasons.
Goals from Jamie Murphy and Ryan Flynn fired the visitors into the next phase of the comperition, where they will meet another Premier League side - Norwich City or Fulham - during Saturday’s third round tie with Paul Lambert’s side.
With 6,000 supporters making the journey from South Yorkshire, Clough said: “This club has had a tough time of it in recent years. Hopefully this will renew a little bit of faith and give people some belief.
“You’ve seen the fans we had out there with us. It was an incredible number and in our two homes games over Christmas we had something like 37,000 people coming through the turnstiles.
“That is for a club in the bottom six of League One. Can you imagine what it would be like if we were in the top six or hopefully the Championship? That is the challenge.”
Clough, appointed as United manager in October, added: “The potential of this club was one of the reasons we wanted to come here. That was definitely one of the attractions.
“It’s like an oil tanker. It will take some turning but, once you get it steaming in the right direction, it should be very difficult to stop.”
United, who resume their battle for League One survival at Notts County on Saturday, took the lead through Murphy’s deflected shot before sub Nicklas Helenius drew Villa level with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining. However Flynn, who tormented their top-flight opponents throughout, pounced in the closing stages.
“The lads put an incredible amount of work into that and so I’m delighted for them,” Clough said. “Also for the fans and (co-owner) Kevin McCabe who has ploughed an absolute fortune into this club over the years. He was at the stadium and I know that will have meant a lot to him too.”
The fourth round hometie against Norwich or Fulham is scheduled to be played on the weekend beginning January 25 meaning their League One fixture with Colchester must be re-arranged.