DANNY Wilson is a footballing romantic. Someone determined to chase every single prize on offer even if, as in the case of the FA Cup, the odds are stacked against his team.
So yesterday, when the Sheffield United manager sat down to discuss their meeting with Birmingham City, his insistence that the South Yorkshire club are ready to invest every ounce of effort they possess in trying to overcome Chris Hughton’s side was unerringly predictable.
“Trying to do well in the league and going as far as you can in the cups; that’s what you’re in football for,” Wilson said. “There are teams who would give their right arm to be in the position we are at the moment.”
Three weeks ago, when Dave Jones and Danny Smith of Chasetown performed the fourth-round draw, a home tie against tomorrow’s visitors seemed preferable to facing United’s other potential opponents, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Yet, four games later, the landscape has changed dramatically.
Wolves, beaten in a replay at Molineux, are languishing towards the foot of the Premier League table. City, meanwhile, are sixth in the Championship having won five of their last eight outings including that triumph in the Black Country.
“We got what we wanted and that was a home draw,” Wilson said. “Admittedly we didn’t want a team as good as Birmingham but every game is winnable. If you didn’t think that then what’s the point?”
Guiding United out of League One is Wilson’s priority this term. But, having tasted defeat at Charlton last weekend, he will be keen to avoid suffering back-to-back defeats for only the second time since taking charge in May.
Kevin McDonald’s performances in midfield have been a driving force of late while confirmation that James Beattie has signed an extended contract provided cause for celebration at Shirecliffe yesterday.
“We lost at Charlton but we can take heart from the performance,” Wilson said.
Wilson’s prediction this match should make compelling viewing is supported by fact. City make the short journey north at the top of their divisional form guide. United are fifth in theirs. Hughton’s side have conceded 20 goals on their travels. United have scored an astonishing 33 at Bramall Lane.
With both managers encouraging their respective squad’s to play football, the stage appears set for a good old-fashioned tear-up.
“Chris will be approaching the match with the same attitude that we have,” Wilson said.