Belief is the key to Cup run, claims Baxter

Nottingham Forest manager  Billy Davies.
Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies.
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TOMORROW it will be exactly one year to the day since Jose Baxter and Oldham Athletic stunned a Merseyside giant for the second consecutive round of the FA Cup.

Everton were the team in question, the Latics holding a side then led by David Moyes to a 2-2 draw at Boundary Park in front of a live television audience.

Matt Smith, now of Leeds United, was the goal-scoring hero thanks to netting a dramatic equaliser in stoppage time to send the fifth-round tie to a replay.

In truth, though, every player in that Oldham side was a hero on February 16, 2013, just as they had been three weeks earlier when beating Liverpool 3-2, Smith again to the fore with two goals against the Anfield club.

For Baxter, the memories of those three games – the Latics lost 3-1 at Goodison Park in the replay – are indelibly fresh.

“Last year was great,” said the 22-year-old.

“I have had a few runs now in the Cup, but it would be nice to go that little bit further than I have managed in the past.

“The belief is the big thing about a Cup run. It starts to run through everyone.

“You go to these big hitters and really believe you can cause an upset.

“We caused a few at Oldham last year and we have done the same here at Sheffield United this year. It is great to be part of a run like this.

“My favourite memory was beating Liverpool with Oldham. I am a Liverpool fan so that was pretty special.

“Maybe we can get them again in the next round – and beat them again.”

Baxter, who graduated through the ranks at Everton to make 15 appearances for the club, may be getting slightly ahead of himself in hoping for a repeat meeting with Brendan Rodgers’s side.

But such is the belief running through the Blades’ squad right now after negotiating four tricky rounds with a quartet of away wins, his excitement is understandable.

The triumphs over Aston Villa and Fulham were as deserved as they were unexpected, which is why Nottingham Forest will have to tread carefully tomorrow.

Baxter added: “We are battling for League One safety and doing really well. Another win in the Cup and we will also be in the quarters. That is a big incentive.

“I wasn’t bothered who we got in the draw. If you get a big boy then you are happy at having another chance to cause an upset.

“But then if you get someone a bit lower down you are happy because it is a better chance.

“As a team, we are on a high at the moment. Anyone would be after what we have done.

“The bottom line is we are possibly two games away from Wembley. All the lads know that and the fans are going to be right behind us.

“I would say we have won a bit of respect through what we have done in the Cup. But it is important that we do well in the league. That is the big thing for Sheffield United.”