Chris Porter has revealed Sheffield United’s players want to win today’s FA Cup fifth round tie with Nottingham Forest for ‘ourselves and manager Nigel Clough.’
Porter made the admission after crediting Clough with transforming the mood behind the scenes at Bramall Lane following his appointment in October.
“If we win we are through to the quarter-finals so I don’t think we need any extra motivation. But I’m sure the lads, as well as doing it for themselves, want to do it for him,” Porter, the United centre-forward, said. “He’s great. He signs good players but lads with good attitudes as well.
“He makes the team a better place to be around. The staff, as well, that he brings in are all good people. Everyone has a laugh, it’s a more enjoyable atmosphere.
Porter, who previously worked with Clough at Derby County, has scored twice as United have dispatched Colchester, Cambridge, Aston Villa and Fulham en route to this afternoon’s game against Billy Davies’ side.
The 30-year-old has enjoyed something of a renaissance under Clough after being dispatched on loan to Chesterfield by his predecessor David Weir.
“Before he came in, I thought I did well in pre-season,” Porter said. “But David Weir brought his own players in and when a manager brings his own players in, he wants to play them.
“I got pushed to one side a little bit and I’m not the sort of lad who just wants to not play so I went out on loan to Chesterfield to get games.”
“Nigel came in when I was out on loan which was a bit annoying, because I would have liked to have been here when he first came in,” Porter continued. “But he told me to finish my time there and when I came back he put me straight back in.
“I was trying hard every day in training to force my way back into the team.
“Nigel signed me before and knowing all the coaching staff coming in with him, it was good to have that again.”
Clough made over 400 appearances for Forest during his own playing career but, having previously worked at Derby, admitted earlier this week to being unsure what type of reception he will receive from the travelling support.
“I hope it’s marginally better than when I went back with Derby, but you never know. The majority of Forest fans have always been very good, it’s just the minority.
“They’re good people. It’s amazing the people who come up to you and speak quietly and ask how you’re doing. They’re perfectly polite.
“It is the minority, unfortunately, who are always the loudest.”
Forest have emerged as promotion contenders in the Championship this term while United are battling to avoid relegation from League One.
Clough, insisting “I’m not bothered who goes up or comes down so long as we stay up ourselves,” warned: “With the run Forest are on at the moment, they’re probably one of the most confident sides in the country.
“They’re on a great run and have the ability to change things around and freshen it up without weakening the side too much.
“Success breeds confidence. They’ve been building for a year or two. It’s as good as squad as you’ll get in the Championship.
“They’ve got good striking options and, with a player like Andy Reid in midfield, you’ve got that Premier League quality as well.”
Clough, though, insisted United supporters could help to decide the outcome of today’s contest.
“The fans do help, especially when you go to Villa Park and places like that because you feel that you are an equal,” he said. “Someone said that they watched the Fulham game on television and all you could hear was the Sheffield United supporters singing.
“So if you can hear it on TV imagine what it was like at Craven Cottage and on the pitch. It makes a difference.
“There’s a buzz because of the cup. We are a little bit conscious that we have to temper it with the dose of reality that we are in the bottom four of league one though.
“Without getting carried away we are in the last sixteen of the FA Cup.”