THE money-spinning draw that Bramall Lane’s bean counters craved might not have materialised but Danny Wilson has described this weekend’s FA Cup tie between Sheffield United and Birmingham City as “absolutely fantastic.”
Wilson, the United manager, has made no secret of his desire to reach the latter stages of the tournament, despite seeing his club become embroiled in an increasingly tortuous battle for promotion from League One.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s fourth round fixture, Wilson said: “It’s got the potential to be a terrific tie. Absolutely fantastic as far as I’m concerned.
“We’re at home and in a good run of form so we should be confident and Birmingham will enter it in exactly the same frame of mind.
“For different reasons we’ll both fancy our chances of winning it and so that promises to make it a really exciting game.”
“Winning, as far as I’m concerned, is a habit,” added Wilson. “I don’t care what it is.
“The more games players win the more confident they get and the more they believe in themselves.
“If someone can show me a good game to lose then I’d be amazed to see it because I certainly can’t think of one.”
Wilson, who according to one player was “livid” when United exited the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy following a penalty shoot-out defeat by Bradford, appears something of a footballing romantic; determined to chase every single prize on offer rather than pick and choose when to perform.
However, he is also likely to have Machiavellian motivations. Aware that providing uplifting mood music for the directors’ suite is crucial at this pivotal stage of the campaign.
Nicely positioned in the race to join City in the Championship, Wilson would prefer offers for his key names to be rebutted during the mid-season transfer window despite acknowledging that United’s finances must be restructured.
United relinquished second place when they were beaten by Charlton Athletic last weekend but prepare for the visit of City having won 11 of their previous 13 outings in all competitions.
City manager Chris Hughton, whose team overcame Wolves in a replay in the previous round, has steered City to sixth a tier above.
His success at St Andrews means the Midlanders are destined to play a minimum of 58 games this term.
Predicting their march into the play-off positions will ensure his squad lock horns with United in a positive frame of mind, Hughton said: “It is a nice feeling where we are and I’m pleased for the players.
“It’s already been a long tough season and they’ve been playing catch-up.”
Wilson added: “Birmingham are a good side who were in the top-flight last season and showed by winning the Carling Cup that they take these games seriously.
“They will want to do well and willl bring a lot of fans so the atmosphere, with the backing ours have given us, should be great.”