Sheffield United are back on the FA Cup glory trail, with manager Nigel Clough eyeing a return trip to Wembley.
Nigel Clough’s cup kings – who reached the semi-finals of the competition last year, before losing out 5-3 to Hull City – are one of 10 Yorkshire clubs in tonight’s third-round draw.
The draw – which will see last season’s beaten finalists Hull and the rest of the Premier League, plus Championship clubs enter – will be held at The Deep aquarium in Hull tonight.
Managers, players, fans – and clubs’ bank managers – from across Yorkshire will be switched on as it will be screened on BBC2 at 7pm, with former England striker Alan Shearer conducting the draw.
The Blades beat Plymouth Argyle 3-0 to join fellow League One sides Barnsley, Doncaster Rovers and Bradford City in the draw.
Top-flight Hull also come into the equation, as do Yorkshire’s five Championship clubs in Huddersfield Town, Leeds United, Middlesbrough, Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday.
All four League One clubs are dreaming of a plum tie away to a Premier League giant, like Manchester United or Chelsea, which would guarantee them a major financial windfall.
“We like home draws, but if not, one of the big clubs away,” said Blades manager Nigel Clough. “We know from last season it can cause you problems with your fixtures.”
Two goals from Jose Baxter and a third from substitute Marc McNulty secured United’s passage.
Clough said: “We are just delighted to get through, Plymouth made it very difficult for us, especially in the first half.
“Once the first goal went in, we relaxed and played some good stuff.”
Doncaster manager Paul Dickov is dreaming of a third-round tie against Premier League champions Manchester City.
The Doncaster Rovers manager made 174 appearances for City, in two spells as a player between 1996 and 2008, before hanging up his boots in 2011.
Now, Dickov – whose Rovers side beat another of his former clubs, Oldham Athletic, 1-0 on Saturday – is hoping to draw Manuel Pellgrini’s team in tonight’s draw.
“The FA Cup is a competition that was very good to me as a player, and in the short time as a manager as well,” said Dickov, who was in charge of Oldham, when they dumped Liverpool out of the competition at the fourth-round stage two years ago.
“Everybody wants a plum tie in the third round, and we want it for the fans more than anything else.
“There’s nothing better than sitting at home, watching the FA Cup draw, knowing that you are in the hat.
“It’s everybody’s dream, for teams outside the Premier League and Championship, to get one of the big boys and we are no different.”
Barnsley will need a replay to secure their third-round spot, after they were held to a scoreless draw at Oakwell yesterday by Conference side Chester.
A relieved Tykes manager Danny Wilson admitted: “We are very lucky to still be in the FA Cup. They have had numerous chances.
“It’s been frustrating, our passing wasn’t anywhere near as good as it can be. We never got going.
“The only good thing about it is that we go back to Chester, and we know what’s there in front of us now.
“If we are not at our best, we could go out of the Cup.”
Bradford City had no trouble in seeing off the challenge of non-league Dartford at Valley Parade yesterday, running out 4-1 winners.
Billy Clarke and Jon Stead gave them a 2-0 half-time lead before two goals in as many minutes by Phil Parkinson’s side just before the hour mark settled the tie. Filipe Morais made it 3-0 in the 58th minute before Mark Yeates added a fourth soon after.
Lee Noble was on hand to record a consolation goal for the visitors.
“I would like a home tie against a Premier League club and my preference would be Manchester United,” said Bantams boss Parkinson afterwards.
“It is only the second time in 11 years that the club has been in round three. The FA Cup third round is one of the most eagerly awaited dates in the football calendar and I am delighted to be there.
“It was very professional performance. We prepared well for the game and we got the job done. These games are never easy. Other scores from around the country today prove that.”