Matthew Lowton has warned Aston Villa must be ready for war when they entertain Sheffield United in the FA Cup tomorrow.
And Lowton, who progressed through the ranks at Bramall Lane before joining Paul Lambert’s side two seasons ago, reinforced the message by vowing to show the visitors no mercy despite admitting they are still “very close” to his heart.
Revealing why Nigel Clough’s appointment as manager makes United a dangerous proposition, Lowton said: “They will have those fighting qualities. It’ll be a break from the tough fight that they’re in in the league and they’ll come here with nothing to lose.
“They’re the underdogs and I’m sure they’ll make it as hard for us as they can but it’s up to us to overrun them and make sure our quality comes through.
“There are a few lads there who were there when I was there so after every game we always text each other about how they got on. I’ve always been keeping an eye on them.
“I know they lost (against Walsall) in their last match but the new manager has come in and the lads are saying confidence is high and he has them playing football.”
Lowton, aged 24, made 89 appearances for the League One club after graduating from its youth system in 2010. Clough, who replaced David Weir at the helm in October, has instigated a dramatic improvement in United’s fortunes with Wednesday’s defeat at the Banks’s Stadium their first set-back since November 16.
“I think I was on the way back from an away game (when the draw was made) and I got a phone call from my brother, Glenn,” Lowton added. “He was laughing when I answered so I thought it was a tasty draw but when he said who it was I had to smile because it’s a club that’s very close to my heart.”