Blades aim to transfer cup form to league journeys

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough enjoys a joke with coaches Chris Morgan, right and Andy Garner. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough enjoys a joke with coaches Chris Morgan, right and Andy Garner. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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SHEFFIELD United assistant-manager Andy Garner admits the Blades are after a bit of payback against tonight’s opponents Gillingham.

The Kent outfit were the last side to triumph at Bramall Lane, cashing in on an error-strewn performance from Nigel Clough’s side to take all three points with a 2-1 victory back in mid-November.

The home side’s display left the Blades’ management staff seething.

While this evening’s encounter may lack the sparkle of Sunday’s ultimately glorious FA Cup fifth-round tie with Nottingham Forest, Garner insists the Blades will be highly motivated and have been told, in no uncertain terms, what is expected of them.

The Blades have claimed just one league win on the road so far this term, and Garner said: “We played Gillingham at home and, no disrespect to them, but they weren’t brilliant, that’s for sure.

“We do owe them one; that performance took a lot to get over.

“It was poor from us and there is now a chance to put it right.

“Don’t get me wrong, if a team comes and batters you and outplays you, you hold your hands up and say ‘well played’.

“But they didn’t do that and we gifted them two stupid goals.

“They didn’t do a lot to get that victory, it was down to us. It would be nice to reverse it.”

After raising the bar courtesy of their increasingly captivating cup exploits, Garner says the Blades can take plenty of confidence into the forthcoming league fixtures.

The Blades will follow tonight’s game with a key weekend assignment with Bristol City before visiting Colchester United next month.

The message to the players before kick-off at the Priestfield Stadium tonight will be a simple one, namely ‘same again please’ after the thrilling win over Forest.

Garner, who confirmed the Blades are continuing to make efforts to make some loan additions to their squad this week, added: “After what we did on Sunday, you would like to think the confidence will be high and we just hope that they put in a similar performance.

“We won’t get carried away with the cup. The bread and butter is the league, simple as that.

“The players will know that as well and will be told that before they go out, that’s for sure.

“We have got to get out of the bottom four as quick as we possibly can.”

The Blades report no new injury worries ahead of this evening’s match.

Last six: Gillingham WLWLWL, Sheffield United WWWLDD.

Last time: Gillingham 1 Sheffield United 3; October 17, 2004; Championship.

Referee: C Berry (Surrey).