Graft over craft as Lane kids head to Saints

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SHEFFIELD United’s free-flowing football attracted an army of admirers en route to last season’s FA Youth Cup final.

But John Pemberton, who oversaw their history-making march through the competition, has admitted his team could be forced to adopt a different approach when they travel to Southamton in the third round of this year’s tournament on Monday (7pm).

United have knocked out Tranmere Rovers and Port Vale en route to St Mary’s and Pemberton said: “In those matches we found ourselves up against teams who were determined to stop us play. We might have to do something similar when we go down there.

“Rovers and Vale had clearly done their homework on us.

“They were determined not to give us much space because they wanted to try and cancel out what we are good at.

“Our next opponents are also a good passing team and so, although we must not forget our own strengths, we have to be aware of what theirs are too.”

Southampton lost in the final when they faced Ipswich Town in 2005.

But the Championship club, who have groomed the likes of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in recent years, are known for pumping huge sums of money into their development system.

Pemberton said: “We always do our preparation and take a good look at who we are playing.

“We always have them watched and then try to come up with a plan of action based upon what we’ve seen.

“It’s all part of the lads’ education process and learning curve to be able to adapt to different situations.”

Meanwhile, United supporters are reminded that tomorrow’s planned charity match in aid of the Karl Darby Fund has had to be cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch at Sheffield FC.