Fleetwood Town v Sheffield United: Blades must perform or face axe for the Cup

NIGEL CLOUGH has issued a storm warning for the Fylde coast this afternoon – and it is nothing to do with this week’s ‘weather bomb’.

Nigel Clough

The Blades visit Fleetwood for the first time in a competitive fixture today and while not so long ago, the prospect of the pair locking horns at the Highbury Stadium would have had a certain David-versus-Goliath FA Cup ring to it, they face each other as equals in terms of League One status.

The visitors may have a decidedly more glamorous Capital One Cup quarter-final date with Southampton on the horizon on Tuesday, but Clough will not tolerate any diminishing of focus against opponents who will be targeting their biggest scalp since being promoted to the Football League.

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Fleetwood’s home form stacks up with most teams in League One, with Graham Alexander’s side having lost just once in nine league fixtures there and while reaching the third tier represented some achievement last season, equally standing still is not an option.

Clough said: “I think their ambitions are to go beyond this as well. It won’t be the end of the achievement.

“Fleetwood attack teams when they are at home. They will be very bright early on and it is one of those where we will have to go away from home for 15 to 20 minutes without conceding.

“We have got to keep them quiet at home.”

Under no illusions about the importance of the game in comparison to Tuesday, he added: “Saturday is more important without doubt.

“There are still 75 to 80 points to play for and we have got one shot at the League Cup semi-final as well.

“The players will know if they don’t play well on Saturday, they won’t play on Tuesday.”