MATTHEW Lowton won’t have a bad word said about the FA Cup.
It was almost 15 years ago the Sheffield United defender watched from the stands as Chesterfield, the team he supported as a boy, drew 3-3 with Middlesbrough in the semi-finals of Britain’s oldest cup competition.
He told The Star he rates the Old Trafford occasion as one of the highlights of his footballing life. The full-back also went to the replay at Hillsborough, where the Spireites slumped to a 3-0 defeat.
“I was only eight at the time,” he recalled. “I think about 10 to 15 buses went from my area to Old Trafford and we all had face paint on and it was a fantastic day out.
“The atmosphere that was created from the Chesterfield fans that day is something I will never forget. It was a fantastic game and you could see how much it meant to the fans. I knew after that day I wanted to play football.”
Lowton added: “Growing up, I used to go to a lot of FA Cup games with my dad. It means a lot to me. It was frightening the amount of fans who were at Old Trafford for the Chesterfield game so I have been there and seen what it means to the fans.”
An injury prevented Lowton from featuring in the FA Cup last season, meaning the 22-year-old, who enjoys marauding forward, had to wait until the first round meeting with Oxford United to make his first appearance in the tournament.
He is looking forward to the challenge of locking horns with Birmingham City on Saturday, saying: “They are doing well in the Championship and have kept hold of a lot of players from the Premier League so we know they are going to be a good side but we fancy ourselves against most teams in England at Bramall Lane.
“This will test how far we have come and see how much we have gelled since the start of the season.
“We have been playing great football and getting good results of late so it will be nice to play against a team from a higher division to see how we have developed this season.”
United have been allocated 4,700 tickets for the Steel City derby on Sunday February 26, kick-off 1pm. Tickets are priced at £24 adults and £15 concessions (over 65 and under 18s). Any tickets left will go on general sale on Friday February 17.
A capacity crowd is expected at Hillsborough for the match, which has not been selected for live TV Coverage.
It finished 2-2 earlier on in the season, with Chris O’Grady and Gary Madine cancelling out Stephen Quinn and Ched Evans’ first-half goals.