Rescheduling ties for overseas viewers has dimmed FA Cup highlight, fears Sheffield United assistant

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder, left, and his assistant Alan Knill (Picture: Steve Ellis).
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder, left, and his assistant Alan Knill (Picture: Steve Ellis).
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SHEFFIELD UNITED assistant manager Alan Knill believes just one of Yorkshire’s nine clubs competing in the FA Cup third round kicking off at 3pm today detracts from what used to be a highlight in the domestic football calendar.

The Football Association’s new £820m overseas contract is behind changes that mean only 10 of the 32 ties will be played in the traditional Saturday afternoon slot.

Ties involving Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley are among seven shifted to 12.30pm, while Huddersfield Town face Bristol City at 5.30pm. Another five Yorkshire clubs, including the Blades, play at 2pm tomorrow.

“We all know TV pays,” said Knill. “But this is still difficult. I would much rather kick-off at 3pm on a Saturday, especially as we are coming off the back of a run where we played on several different days (over Christmas). Now we play on Sunday. It makes you think, ‘Oh, come on’. We all know there is nothing we can do, you have to go with the scheduling.

“But this used to be a really big weekend. First one of the year meant FA Cup third round. It does take away from it.

“But football has changed a lot, hasn’t it? So, we have to change with it and get on with it.”

Meanwhile, the Blades are interested in signing former Wednesday striker Gary Madine on loan from Cardiff City.

Manager Chris Wilder is keen to bolster his strikeforce and sees the 28-year-old, who joined the Bluebirds from Bolton Wanderers for £6m a year ago, as the ideal addition.

“We are down the line with some, but at any moment that might change,” added Knill, when asked about United’s recruitment plans for January.

“We are not too far away, but you are never there until they are in the building and they have signed.

“Things can change so quickly, but, at the moment, we are looking okay.”

Daniel Lafferty has joined Peterborough United on loan, while Jake Wright is heading to Scunthorpe United.

Cranie up for the Cup: Page 5.