SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Chris Wilder is targeting an end to his own FA Cup jinx at Leicester City tomorrow evening – as he seeks his own magic cup moment with his beloved Blades.
Wilder, who has never been beyond the last-16 stage of the competition during his career in football, is acutely aware of his boyhood club’s cup pedigree over the years, encompassing some epic days and nights under a number of his predecessors.
His 21-month tenure at Bramall Lane may have contained innumerable highs, but creating a famous cup upset is one noteworthy omission thus far and it is something he is keen to rectify.
On United’s cup history, Wilder said: “It is incredible, looking back over the last 20 or so years. There was Harry (Dave Bassett), getting to the quarter-finals against Manchester United (in 1990), then through to Neil (Warnock).
“Then it was on to Nigel (Clough) and getting to the semi-final as well.
“It would be great to do something like that. We want to continue. So why they appointed me I don’t know because my record is terrible!”
Wilder will be forced into making at least two changes for tomorrow night’s last-16 tie in the East Midlands, with John Fleck suspended and fellow midfielder Lee Evans having played in an earlier round of the competition.
Ryan Leonard and Ricky Holmes are also ineligible, while Simon Moore will again be missing after receiving a three-match ban for his recent dismissal at Wolves.
But Wilder, who has talented midfielder David Brooks back in contention after a bout of glandular fever, insists that the absences will not dilute his side’s quality count, while acknowledging the extent of the task in hand.
He added: “It is no use me saying, don’t worry lads, it is Leicester City away. This is the fifth round of the FA Cup.
“There is an opportunity for us and while there is one there, we will have a go at it.
“We would love to continue in the competition. I believe we have got an exciting last set of games with all to play for.
“The season is alive and we are getting backed in numbers. There is a set of players who want to do well.
“There is a lot of positivity. It is just the general feel here, whenever these boys pull on the shirt, they do not want to go through the back door.
“We have worked hard to create that culture, be it here or with the Under-23s.”
After a vibrant performance in the Under-23s’ 2-1 victory over Hull City on Monday evening – in a game which saw him score a virtuoso goal and create the other for the Blades – Wales international Brooks is eyeing a return to the first-team fray at Leicester tomorrow.
The gifted 20-year-old’s last senior appearance came on December 8, with Wilder admitting that his return to contention is a timely one.
He said: “David came through the Under-23s. He set one up and scored.
“He will be in contention, especially with the numbers being down.
“He has been back with the group for a couple of weeks anyway but, as I have made clear, with what he has had, we are always guided by the doctors on that.”