cup run helps revive porter’s united career

Nigel Clough, manager of the month for Sheffield United. (Picture: Nigel Roddis)
Nigel Clough, manager of the month for Sheffield United. (Picture: Nigel Roddis)
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CHRIS PORTER has not looked back since the start of the Blades’ epic 2013-14 FA Cup journey in November – and is hoping there are a few more chapters to write yet.

The lanky striker struck his first goal of the season in netting a decisive late penalty in the 3-2 win at Colchester in round one, with his campaign having taken off under Nigel Clough since that moment.

It’s a far cry from the start of the season when he was out of favour under Clough’s predecessor David Weir and seemingly battling to save his Bramall Lane career after being farmed out on loan to neighbours Chesterfield.

Six months on and Porter, hero of the round-five victory over Nottingham Forest, is firmly established as one of the Blades’ main men and acknowledges that he is currently enjoying the best period of his career at S2.

Porter, who has netted nine goals this term, said: “It’s definitely the best time. No-one is going to argue that I’ve had a bit of an up-and-down career at Sheffield and thankfully it is starting to turnaround and I will carry on scoring goals.

“I’ve never doubted my own ability and have scored a lot of goals at this level earlier on in my career. But obviously, your confidence does get knocked when you aren’t in the team or playing as regularly as you want to.

“To get a few games and goals is massive for your confidence.”

On what represented his seasonal turning point in the cup triumph at Colchester, he added: “The penalty kick-started my season.

“I remember missing an absolute sitter about five minutes before, so felt as though I owed the team one.

“I definitely didn’t imagine we would still be in the cup. This is by miles the furthest I have been in the FA Cup and something I will never forget in terms of the ties and the wins. It’s been a great experience and I’m sure it has been the same for the fans.

“To beat two Premier League teams and one who are flying in the Championship is a great achievement.

“Seeing the teams we have played, no-one would have thought we’d get anywhere near the quarter-finals.

“Financially for the club, it has been massive as well and with the league form having not been great earlier on in the season, the fans have had something to cheer about thankfully.”

Porter was one of a number of crest-fallen Blades players who suffered heart-ache at Wembley in a shattering play-off final loss on penalties against Huddersfield Town in May 2012 and admits returning there next month represents a motivational tool ahead of tomorrow’s game.

Porter added: “The lads were devastated on the day and you think you might not get the chance to play there again. To be 90 minutes away is a massive motivation for us.”