Hammers win could offer timely lift to Blades

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough.
Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough.
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Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough hopes Tuesday’s shock Capital One Cup triumph at West Ham can prove the catalyst to ignite his side’s season – just as a similar win did last term.

The Blades fought back stoically to force extra time and penalties in a 1-1 draw at Upton Park, before holding their nerve to fire home five spot-kicks, with goalkeeper Mark Howard saving £14m man Enner Valencia’s effort at the death to clinch a famous 5-4 shoot-out win.

The ecstatic scenes at the end in front of the visiting fans were a reminder of last season’s fourth-round FA Cup success across the capital at Fulham, the start of a magic 10-match winning streak.

Clough said: “We said that to the new players – that is what it was like last season. And it brought it all back for the lads who were part of it as well (at Fulham).

“It was nice as we have looked disjointed this season, without doubt and it was the first time we looked solid as a team. It was reminiscent of last season.”

The gloss on an enriching few days for Doncaster Rovers is set to arrive today with midfield duo Richie Wellens and Paul Keegan expected to pen new deals.

Wellens, who made his first appearance of the season from the bench in Tuesday night’s cup win at Championship hosts Watford, has agreed fresh terms which will see him contracted at Rovers for this season and the 2015-16 campaign.

It represents a welcome development to Rovers and their fans, with Wellens having been widely expected to leave the club and activate a relegation clause in his contract hanging over from the end of last season.

A new deal has now been brokered, with fellow midfielder Keegan, on a month-to-month contract at the club, having also agreed terms on a three-year deal, according to Dickov.

He said: “Richie is going to sign a new contract. We have spoken and he wants to take the release clause out and wants to play with us, which is great news.

“We have wanted Richie to stay here all along. We had a long chat on Monday and the decision was done to do it.”

On Keegan, he added: “He’s stuck by us and believed in what we are doing. The way he has played with a month’s contract with no security at the end of it is a big credit to him.”