Bring on the Owls! Why Sheffield United skipper Billy Sharp wants FA Cup derby date with Sheffield Wednesday

Billy Sharp and Danny Lafferty celebrate after the skipper's winning goal ensured FA Cup progress for Sheffield United
Billy Sharp and Danny Lafferty celebrate after the skipper's winning goal ensured FA Cup progress for Sheffield United
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Billy Sharp, the Sheffield United captain, has revealed he would love to be paired with arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday in Monday night’s FA Cup fifth round draw.

Sharp, who has missed the last two Steel City derbies, made the admission after scoring the only goal of the game as Chris Wilder’s side reached the next stage of the competition by beating Preston North End.

“Sheffield Wednesday would be fun,” the United captain replied when asked who wanted to face.

“Either them or someone like Chelsea, that would be really nice. But whoever we get, it will be a good game and hopefully we can go another step further.

“In both of the cups, this club has had some really great nights down the years and, four years ago, we got to the semi-finals of this one.

“I wasn’t here then but I went to it (against Hull City) at Wembley. Really, all we want to do is win as many games as we can.”

Sharp, making only his second start of 2018, converted from the penalty spot during the closing stages of a tie Wilder later acknowledged was “far from memorable.”

After being tripped by Tom Clarke, United’s captain to fired home past Declan Rudd who had earlier made a superb save to deny Daniel Lafferty.

Ched Evans, returning from a four month injury lay-off, saw an appeal for another penalty waved away by referee Graham Scott while Ben Heneghan, impressed on his debut for the club.

Although Wilder refused to be drawn on his preferred option - “If you say it’s a ‘winnable game’ and then lose, you’ve got egg on your face. If you end up getting well beaten by one of the big boys, that can be bad for confidence” - Sharp had no such qualms about divulging his hope for this evening after watching both derbies this season from the bench.

“I haven’t played a minute in one of them yet so that would be good,” the lifelong United supporter said.

“It would be great for the city again and they’ve both been good games for different reasons. Yes, another one would be good, in my opinion at least.”

Seventh-placed United return to Championship action against Aston Villa tomorrow knowing a win would see them climb back into the play-off positions.

New arrivals Ricky Holmes, Lee Evans, James Wilson and Ryan Leonard could all feature and Sharp added: “The gaffer has made signings in the summer and four more in January. We’ve got 20 players pushing for 11 places and that’s good for the club.”