Midfielders’ union gives Blades hope of upset

AS A midfielder, Maddy Cusack is particularly grateful that Neil Redfearn is going to be sticking around with Sheffield United Women for a good while yet.

Redfearn penned a new two-year deal earlier this month and is keen to build on his solid work with the Blades who finished the 2020-21 Women’s Championship campaign in fourth spot.

The former Leeds United head coach has spoken of his ambition to secure promotion to the top tier of women’s football in England with the Blades and they will be provided with a barometer of their recent progress with a last-16 Women’s FA Cup tie with Tottenham tomorrow afternoon.

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On the impact of Redfearn, Cusack commented: “Redders is great and since he has come in, he has been fantastic for the football club.

Maddy Cusack of Sheffield United Women during the The FA Women's Championship match at the Technique Stadium, Chesterfield. Picture date: 18th October 2020. Picture credit should read: Darren Staples/Sportimage

“To have someone of his stature managing us and with all the experience he has had – as a player and a manager – is great for someone like me who is a midfield player.

“I love playing for him and really value everything he says and he has definitely brought me on as a player. I really enjoy playing under him.

“He always says to me that I remind him of himself a little bit in terms of the way I play. He wants me to start affecting the box a little bit more and scoring goals.

“I have seen that he scored quite a lot of goals and that is something I want to add into my game a little bit more.”

The Blades, who hammered Middlesbrough 9-0 in the previous round, face a step-up in class against Women’s Super League outfit Spurs.

But they can take heart from an impressive showing against top-flight opposition in a narrow Continental Cup exit to Aston Villa in October.

She added: “Our games with Villa have always been tight and we pushed them in the Continental Cup game and were unlucky.

“Being the underdogs, the pressure is off a little bit. But in terms of ourselves, we know we are a good team and we have put some really good performances in since Christmas.”