Sheffield Wednesday: Ex-Blades star expecting a '˜hammering' by the Owls next month

When his Carlisle United side face Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup next month, Keith Curle expects to be on the receiving end of a frosty reception from the Owls fans.

Carlisle boss Keith Curle
Carlisle boss Keith Curle

Ex-Sheffield United defender Curle began his coaching career at Bramall Lane, working as player-coach under Neil Warnock, before a spell at Barnsley and then a player-manager position at Mansfield.

Curle, who has been in charge of the Cumbrians since September 2014, said: “I am expecting some hammering.

Former Owls loanee Hallam Hope

“I am expecting a phone call off Neil, and he will say ‘get your tin hat on because you are going to get a hammering’.

“But I am used to it. He knows I can take it. I will be out and about – and one half of [Sheffield] will be getting it.”

Carlisle booked their place in the third round of Britain’s oldest cup competition in midweek, defeating Gillingham 3-1. A first half double by Hallam Hope and a strike by Shaun Miller helped Curle’s side overcome their League One opponents in a second round replay.

Former Owls loanee Hallam Hope

The Cumbrians, who have also knocked Oldham Athletic out of the tournament, pocketed £27,000 in prize money.

Curle said: “It was a good win and good timing. We needed it.”

Carlisle’s tie with the Owls is due to be played on the weekend of January 6.

And Hope will be eager to prove a point, having failed to impress at Wednesday earlier in his career. Stuart Gray signed the striker on loan from Everton in August 2014 but the ex-England Under-19 international only made one start and three substitute appearances. His only start came in a heavy home loss to Watford, where he was taken off at halftime.

But Hope is enjoying his football with Carlisle and has notched nine goals this season.

Curle: “He is a professional. He works tirelessly at his game.

“The effort and the yards he has covered shows he wants to do well. Soon that might get respected and acknowledged, as well.”

The Cumbrians also have ex-Owls midfielder Mike Jones in their ranks.