Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, has ordered his team to show no fear when they visit West Ham tonight, writes James Shield.
But Clough, speaking ahead of the Capital One Cup second round tie, warned opponents will be more wary of his team following their exploits in knockout competition last term.
“The lads have to believe they can do this,” he told The Star. “And we hope they show no fear.
“You must always respect your opponents there’s a difference. A big and important difference.”
Clough, whose side beat Aston Villa and Fulham en route to the semi-finals of the FA Cup last term, added: “I think teams will be a little bit more wary of us after that but, at the same time, let’s say ‘hold on a minute. Let them also think about us.’
“Because we don’t know how West Ham might line-up, if they’ll make lots of changes, that turns our focus totally within. We can concentrate completely on our own game and trying to cause them some problems.”
West Ham, who reached the last four of this tournament seven months ago, could include the likes of Diego Poyet, Jussi Jaaskelainen and Ravel Morrison in their starting eleven as Sam Allardyce, Clough’s counterpart at the Boleyn Ground, reshuffles his options following Saturday’s victory over Crystal Palace. United, meanwhile, will be without Stefan Scougall (knee) while fellow midfielder James Wallace will undergo a late fitness test.
“We’re taking another look at Stefan,” Clough said. “We think there might be a little bit more going on there than we first thought.
“He’s telling us he is feeling something in there but hopefully it’s nothing too serious. It’s not our medical staff but there might have been something missed in the original scan and so it’s worthwhile having another one done.”
“James has been involved with the under-21’s and he was due to meet us on the way down to London,” Clough added. “We’ll see how he is, how he’s feeling and then take things from there but, if everything’s okay, then he could feature on the bench.”