Burnley v Sheffield United: Family at war as legend returns to Blades

CHAMPIONSHIP: ALAN CORK will want his son Jack to have a 'stinker' this afternoon when Sheffield United visit Burnley.

Cork senior is back with the Blades after a 17-year absence – appointed assistant to new manager Micky Adams.

His son Jack, however, is on loan at Burnley, who provide the first opposition for the Blades since the unveiling of the new regime.

"It's going to be a little awkward because not only is Jack a Burnley player, his girlfriend is from Sheffield and all her family support the Blades!" revealed Cork, who holds iconic status at Bramall Lane due to his role in the club's march to the 1993 FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield Wednesday.

Cork, who scored in the 2-1 defeat by the Owls, refused to shave during the cup run and memorably sported a thick black and grey beard at Wembley.

Although he has been back in Sheffield just 48 hours, Cork wasted no time in renewing cross-city rivalries, detailing a conversation with former Sheffield Wednesday player Gary Megson, whom he worked under at Bolton Wanderers.

"I was on the phone to him this morning to say the biggest club in town is back again!" he quipped.

Now 51, Cork has worked with Adams previously at Fulham, Brighton, Leicester and Coventry but the pair are also best friends away from the game and were best man at each other's weddings.

At first glance, it would be easy to assume Cork, the six-footer, would play 'bad cop' to his 5ft 8in tall manager's 'good cop' in the dressing room but not so, according to the former Blades striker.

"He doesn't suffer fools and will probably fall out with a lot of people. That's Micky but you just have to take it on the chin. He can be very aggressive sometimes but sometimes you need that with people and I just mop up behind him," he said.

Relishing his return to Bramall Lane, Cork, who was also part of the Wimbledon 'Crazy Gang' under Dave Bassett, said: "Once you are a Blade, your are always a Blade and I have not got another club in my eyes now because Wimbledon is not a club any more.

"It does feel like being back with my 'family' but we have a job to do, we have to find out what's gone wrong and nail it down."

Lifelong Blades supporter Adams, 49, feels Cork's assistance will be invaluable as the pair strive to pull the club away from the Championship relegation zone.

"I don't want to embarrass Alan but I think he's the best centre-forward coach around," said Adams. "He will be good for the forwards we have got here and he knows how to put the ball in the back of the net – even though he 'fluked' that one at Wembley!

"All the forward boys will appreciate that he has scored goals at the highest level and when he speaks he commands respect. He is also capable of showing them as well, which is important, so he will be invaluable."

Cork junior, meanwhile, is on a season-long loan with Burnley from Chelsea. A midfielder or a defender, the 21-year-old has yet to play for the Premier League champions but has gained plenty of first team experience over the last few seasons with loan spells at Bournemouth, Scunthorpe United, Southampton, Watford, and Coventry City.