The half-time rollicking at the New York Stadium last Saturday wasn’t a Steve Evans special but was coming from the away dressing room with Joe Dunne, manager of Sheffield United’s opponents this afternoon, Colchester United, at the heart of it.
It roused his largely young side, inspiring them to an improved second half performance which they capped with an equaliser right at the end of stoppage time against the Millers.
So, with a point away to Rotherham after a win the previous week at home to Peterborough, Dunne will be hoping his side’s fortunes are on the upturn as they prepare to meet the Blades in the first round of the FA Cup.
The Peterborough win ended a run of 12 games without a win for the U’s, a run which began at Bramall Lane in August when the teams drew 1-1, a game which saw Febian Brandy’s first sending off of the season.
The winger starts his four game ban tomorrow but all Blades interest will be elsewhere and on the man set to return to the starting line-up this afternoon, Shaun Miller.
Three appearances as a substitute have primed the skilful attacker to be ready for his first start since he damaged his cruciate ligaments last Boxing Day at Bramall Lane.
This is the perfect opportunity for manager Nigel Clough to put Miller in the starting line-up and it would mean two or three options as he ponders his attacking pairings. Chris Porter, back from his loan at Chesterfield, is also in the mix.
Clough is certainly going to make changes but insists it will not be to the detriment of the strength of the side.
“The priority is putting out a strong side because we want to progress, of that there’s no doubt,” said Clough. “We’ll be looking to win it first time as well if possible.”
Colchester are set to include ex-Owls striker Clinton Morrison, 34.
United’s youngsters will be away to Bolton Wanderers in the third round of the FA Youth Cup if they come through their second round tie at home to Worcester City.