Chris Porter has vowed Sheffield United’s remarkable FA Cup exploits will not cast a shadow over tomorrow’s League One encounter with Carlisle, writes James Shield.
Instead, revealing every member of Nigel Clough’s squad is desperate to start next month’s semi-final against Hull City, the former Derby County centre-forward insisted reaching Wembley has only made them more determined to beat Graham Kavanagh’s side.
Porter, speaking ahead of a match which could see United record their 10th straight win in all competitions, said: “Everyone will be fighting for a place. There are players who haven’t been playing every week who will be looking to get their chance.
“There’s a great atmosphere at the club now. It’s a team game and everyone has contributed to what we’ve achieved (in the cup) but we’ve got to put that behind us now and focus on the next match.
“There’s no shortage of incentives to do that either.”
United became the first third tier team to progress beyond the quarter-finals since 2001 when they beat Charlton Athletic 2-0 on Sunday afternoon.
Despite acknowledging his colleagues must now draw a line under that result, Porter, a veteran of the 2012 play-off final defeat, said: “The reaction at the end shows what it means. We’ve beaten some big teams to get there and it was an unbelievable achievement.
“I don’t think many of us will get the opportunity to play in an FA Cup semi-final again. Certainly those of us who are senior players. I’ll be surprised if I have.
“Being a League One team, it’s just remarkable to get this far. But, like the gaffer said, we won’t be going there for a day out. We’ll be going down there to win and we won’t be holding back.”
“When I was five or 10 I thought I might play in an FA Cup semi-final,” Porter added. “Then reality checks in and you think I’ve probably got no chance.
“It’s a boyhood dream. And being at Wembley makes it extra special.
“Those of us who were in the play-off final, we’ll go there hoping it’s a different story. There won’t be so much pressure on us in the FA Cup and some of our best performances have come in that.
“It’s right up there as an experience. Unbelievable really.
“To get to the semi-finals, even a lot of Premier League players can never say they’ve been there.”