Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder will be cursing Teddy Sheringham
When Teddy Sheringham picked ball number eight out of the hat during Monday’s FA Cup fifth round draw, Chris Wilder’s heart will have sunk.
Seconds earlier, Glen Johnson had slotted number nine - either Cardiff City or Reading - into the home section of the grid designed to showcase the ties.
So Sheringham’s selection condemned United to exactly the type of trip Wilder, speaking following United’s win over Millwall, had admitted he did not want.
“I’ve got no preference,” he said. “Just so long as we’re at home.
“Bramall Lane, under lights, it’s a special place. So long as we’re there, I don’t mind.”
Although he did not get his wish, Wilder will be comforted by the fact United have not been paired with Premier League opposition in the next phase of the competition. When AFC Fylde visited South Yorkshire in the third round, he made wholesale changes to his starting eleven because the fixture followed meetings with Manchester City and Liverpool.
After studying United’s performance at Anfield, Wilder decided his frontline players were suffering from mental and physical fatigue. The manager’s suspicion proved correct when, five days after booking the trip to The Den, United beat West Ham 1-0.
Sandwiched in between games against Aston Villa and Norwich City, the fact both City and Reading are Championship clubs provides Wilder with the leeway to make some tweaks to his team.
Their replay takes place on Tuesday 4 February in the Welsh capital.
“I always want to name as strong a team as possible,” Wilder said. “Always.”