Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough has described QPR’s decision to play the FA Cup third round tie between the sides on Sunday lunchtime as “poor”.
League One club Blades, who memorably reached the FA Cup semi-finals last season before losing out 5-3 to Hull City at Wembley, face another difficult tie with the trip to Premier League opponents once more.
Admittedly, QPR are in action for a third time inside a week today when they face Swansea but they have used the elite division’s “special dispensation” to move back their cup tie 24 hours and give their players extra rest.
However, Clough feels the decision goes against the traditions of the famous competition and is, furthermore, unfair on the South Yorkshire club’s travelling support given the 1pm kick-off time.
“We don’t agree with it and we’re not happy about it,” he said.
“First and foremost for the fans, who have a long enough trip as it is without kick-off times and days being moved.
“It is poor. I think the term used by the authorities was ‘special dispensation’ to move their fixture and it’s the same for all clubs.
“But it should be about our supporters as much as them. Premier League sides have 25-man squads and lots of money, and they will probably rotate their squad from the Swansea game anyway so the players will be fresh.
“They agreed to stage fixtures on New Year’s Day so it’s hardly a surprise for them to play two days later.
“It’s FA Cup third round day and unless you are on TV or a special reason it really should be played on a Saturday at 3pm.”
Meanwhile, midfielder James Wallace is set to return for the first time since suffering an injury in the 1-0 win at Doncaster six weeks ago.
“We’ve had some good news there as he is back in training this week which is good,” added Clough. “He will be in the 18 and we’ll see how he goes for the rest of the week in training but having been out as long as he has it’s unlikely we’ll start him.
“Craig Alcock is training, too, so we’re hoping he’ll be available and Ryan Flynn has an outside chance as well so there’s just the blow of Chris Basham’s ban.”