FA Cup clash against Plymouth Argyle offers Sheffield United chance to rediscover winning ways

FOR CHRIS BASHAM and his Sheffield United team-mates, switching back to FA Cup matters this weekend represents the calm before the storm.

TOUGH TIMES: Sheffield United's Chris Basham battles for the ball against Tottenham Hotspur's Sergio Reguilon at Bramall Lane. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA
TOUGH TIMES: Sheffield United's Chris Basham battles for the ball against Tottenham Hotspur's Sergio Reguilon at Bramall Lane. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA

After Sunday’s Premier League home loss to Tottenham Hotspur, United take a break for Cup business at home to Plymouth Argyle this Saturday ahead of daunting back-to-back away trips to Manchester United and Manchester City next week.

Given that his side have won just twice in all competitions this season, it is highly likely that Chris Wilder will again field a strong line-up against Argyle, mindful of the dividends that any sort of victory would deliver for a Blades side whose predicament is self-evident.

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SLIPPING AWAY: Sheffield United's John Fleck shows his frustration during the 3-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Bramall Lane. Picture: Andrew Yates/Sportimage

Another school of thought might suggest that with their league position looking parlous in the extreme, a good Cup run represents their only genuine chance of clawing back a touch of positivity from a dreadful 2020-21 campaign.

The winners of Saturday’s fourth-round tie will be afforded home advantage in the next round against Millwall or Bristol City with a route to the quarter-finals potentially opening up.

For Basham, it is a case of first things first and restoring a touch of confidence ahead of returning to the league.

He said: “It breaks up the week after a loss and hopefully we can get a win against Plymouth and have a Cup run and a bit of momentum.

“It is at Bramall Lane and something we can fancy and get our teeth into and then the two games come after that.”

Admitting that time is running out in their quest to repair the damage of an awful league season which has seen them prop up the table all year, he acknowledged: “After the Bristol Rovers and Newcastle games, there was a lot of spirit among the group.

“We then played against Tottenham and then it’s Manchester United and Manchester City in the league, so we know it is going to be tough.

“We know after those games that we have a good chance to get some points on the board and that is something we are going to have to strive for because if not, we will be playing football in the league below.”

If United continue to make mistakes like they did against Spurs, Championship football will be a foregone conclusion.

Basham rued: “Their goal was magic at the end, but it came from us and we gifted them a lot of goals and it is not like us. We are disappointed as we wanted to give ourselves a right good chance of having a great week.”

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