Danny old boy set to face Blades boss

Hartlepool days: Darrell Clarke was released by Danny Wilson after an injury-plagued spell
Hartlepool days: Darrell Clarke was released by Danny Wilson after an injury-plagued spell

AS Danny Wilson sat in the stand at Blundell Park the other night, wrapped up against the chilling east coast air coming off the sea, there was little clue which of the two teams he preferred as Sheffield United’s next FA Cup opponents.

Grimsby would have ensured a nice little financial windfall from away support at Bramall Lane that certainly have stretched into a few thousand Mariners fans.

Instead, the Blades will have to count their losses on that one but probably offset it against the fact that, on the pitch, their prospects of getting through to the fourth round would appear that much better after Salisbury City pulled off a shock in Tuesday’s second round replay.

They play a division below Grimsby and currently stand 15th in the Blue Square Bet (Conference) South - three divisions below United in football’s pyramid.

For the Salisbury manager Darrell Clarke it will mean a reunion of sorts with the Blades boss Danny Wilson.

He was at Hartlepool when Wilson was manager there although he never actually played for him.

A serious knee injury hampered Clarke’s career in his late 20s and his final season, 2006/07, at Hartlepool was Wilson’s first in charge but he never played for them that season, having been sent out on loan. At the end of the campaign, he was released by Wilson.

Clarke, who began his playing career with home town club Mansfield and made nearly 200 appearances for them, said the club was “over the moon” to be going to Bramall Lane.

“We had a game plan and thoroughly deserved to go through and it is a great reward,” said Clarke who is classed as player-manager although he has figured just once this season which was in the FA Cup.

It is the first time the Wiltshire club have reached the third round and they did it the hard way on Tuesday.

They conceded an equaliser in stoppage time and then had to come from behind in extra-time after Grimsby took the lead two minutes into the extra period.

However, they equalised and scored the winner from a penalty with seven minutes to go.

Salisbury - nicknamed the Whites because of their all-white kit - are averaging between 700 and 800 for their home games but expect double that figure to follow them to the Lane on January 7.

Salisbury lost their place in the Blue Square Premier two years ago due to failing to meet the financial criteria having previously gone into administration. They were demoted two leagues but won promotion last season from the Zamaretto Premier Division, the equivalent of the Evo-Stik (ex-UniBond) League.

Daniel Webb, son of ex-Chelsea defender David, plays for Salisbury.