MICHAEL HIGDON believes the never-say-die spirit that has sparked so many late fightbacks by Sheffield United this season means the South Yorkshire club can emulate Bradford City’s League Cup heroics of 2013.
The Blades once again proved their liking for a dramatic finale on Tuesday night when two goals in the final four minutes by Higdon booked a place in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals.
Last night’s draw then saw Nigel Clough’s men handed a home tie with Premier League high-fliers Southampton.
Once again, the League One side – the lowest ranked club still in the competition – will be underdogs but that is unlikely to worry a squad that last season reached the FA Cup semi-final and this time around has already knocked out West Ham United.
And Higdon, whose late double was the ninth time that the Blades have scored in the final six minutes of a game this term, is adamant that the heroics of Bradford – finalists two seasons ago after disposing of Premier League trio Arsenal, Aston Villa and Wigan Athletic en route to Wembley – are something that they should aspire to.
The Blades striker said: “We have something special going as a club. We are playing really good stuff at the moment. Obviously, the fans would like us to score more goals. And especially at home.
“But I feel the character of the side is second to none. Just look at the number of late goals we have scored.
“It shows what we are all about. We have a ‘never-say-die’ attitude and that is a great thing for any side to have.
“We keep going. There is belief running through the team. I look at the clock every time we play and always believe we can score, no matter how late. One shot and we are back in the game.”
Higdon only moved to Bramall Lane last summer after a spell in Holland with NEC Nijmegen. It meant he missed United’s thrilling run to the last four of the Cup in 2013-14.
He was, though, well aware of how well Clough’s side did to reach the semi-finals and after knocking out MK Dons on Tuesday, the striker insists anything is possible.
He added: “I think we can do a Bradford and go all the way. Another win and we are in the semi-finals.
“And you never know what will happen in Cup football. Look at last season.
“The lads enjoyed last year but they wish what happened could be changed.
“They were in front at half-time at Wembley (against Hull City) but ended up losing. They would love to change that.”
Higdon, also the match-winner in the third round against Leyton Orient, arrived at Bramall Lane with an impressive pedigree in knockout football after two Cup final appearances when playing in Scotland.
Clearly, he has continued in a similar vein after netting the goals that saw off both Orient and the Dons. In the league, however, it has been a different story with Higdon having found the net just twice.
A red card at Chesterfield last month has not helped with the 31-year-old forced to sit out three games through suspension.
He added: “I am here to score goals. I have got three in the League Cup and that is pleasing. But I would like to have more in the league by now.”
On his time in Holland, Higdon added: “I enjoyed being over there. Because I’d had a good season up in Scotland, I had about 20 clubs to choose from. I fancied a little adventure abroad. Not many players do that.
“Holland wasn’t too far, either. So I fancied that more than Russia or China. I could have gone to both. Or stay in England.
“But I went to Holland where the league is good, the stadiums are good and the standard is high. I did well there and that is why I got a big club like Sheffield United and was determined to hit the ground running.
“It didn’t work out like that but when I came on (against MK Dons), I felt good. I have been doing a lot of fitness work with the coaching staff and that has helped me a lot.
“I’m a lot better than when I first arrived. If I wasn’t fit, I wouldn’t have scored those goals against MK Dons. So, that is good news for me.
“But the red card still frustrates me. I was half a second too late (with the tackle).
“If I had taken the ball and the man, everyone would have been happy. But I didn’t and was a bit too late.
“That killed me for two to three weeks. It hit me in the pocket and I wasn’t allowed to play. The pitch is where I want to be.
“The red card also left the fans asking if I can do do something for Sheffield United. So, I have just had to knuckle down and get on with it.
“I haven’t been in the team but, hopefully, by scoring twice I have shown that I can do something and keep progressing.
“In my head, it has half-answered because I have shown that I haven’t got a bad attitude. I just got on with things.”