Crewe v Sheffield United: Repeat of Cup heroics are on back-burner

AN FA Cup first-round tie at Colchester United may have proved the spectacular catalyst for Sheffield United’s moribund season 12 months ago but Nigel Clough wishes he was on league duty today.

Nigel Clough

The Blades, whose Cup adventure memorably took them to the semi-finals and Wembley last term against Hull, visit Crewe exactly a fortnight after triumphing 1-0 in the league in Cheshire.

After last week’s home derby defeat to Barnsley, Clough admits his main focus is the league and says ideally he would have preferred a chance to pick up three points at the first opportunity.

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The Blades chief, who could involve Diego De Girolamo today – although he says it is likely he will go out on loan again shortly, possibly back to York –said: “We wish we were playing a league game now in terms of getting consistency in performances.

“Doncaster (next week) is on now after being a doubt due to international calls. But it is now definitely next Saturday, which is good news for us.

“We feel we are playing well at the moment despite defeat last Saturday and we wanted league games on while we are in this vein of form.

“The cup is not the priority. Last season’s cup run took our minds off the league when we were down there. But we are around the top six now, although it will not matter come three o’clock on Saturday.

“We’re probably the biggest name in the hat at the moment and, after what the players achieved last time around, everyone will be gunning for them.

“Everyone is going to want to claim our scalp because they know it’s going to make people stand up and take notice.”

Last six games: Crewe LWWWLD, Sheffield United DWWWWL.

Referee: M Russell (Herts).

Last time: Crewe 0 Sheffield United 1; October 25, 2014; League One.