Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough wary of wounded FA Cup warriors Crewe

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Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough has warned his players that Crewe Alexandra will be like wounded animals at Gresty Road this afternoon.

Two weeks after beating Steve Davis’ side in League One competition, United return to Cheshire for an FA Cup first round tie which marks their first appearance in the competition since reaching the semi-finals last term.

Nigel Clough takes his Sheffield United team to Gresty Road in the FA Cup this afternoon � copyright : Blades Sports Photography

Nigel Clough takes his Sheffield United team to Gresty Road in the FA Cup this afternoon � copyright : Blades Sports Photography

But, asked whether that result will have any bearing on today’s contest, Clough said: “If anything, I think it’s going to make it an even harder game.

“They are going to be doing everything they can to get us back for that result, especially because we were the better team by quite a long way even if the scoreline didn’t really reflect that.”

Stefan Scougall, who scored the only goal of the game 14 days ago, is expected to feature for the visitors but Michael Higdon is ruled-out with a hamstring complaint.

James Wallace, the former Tranmere Rovers midfielder, is doubtful as United look to nurse him back into action following a series of niggling injuries.

“We’re still not sure how long Michael is going to be missing for,” Clough admitted. “Jose Baxter had something similar recently and he came back earlier than expected so it might be three more weeks or it could be up to six.

“It’s impossible to say exactly. But we hope Michael is going to be ready sooner rather than later.”

Crewe have also seen their preparations complicated by a series of selection issues. George Ray is suspended after being dismissed against United while captain Matt Tootle has contracted a virus.

Alan Tate, on loan from Swansea City, is receiving treatment for a groin problem. Likewise Jamie Ness (calf).

Febian Brandy and Danny Haynes are both ineligible for selection after agreeing temporary transfers from Rotherham and Notts County respectively.

“We want to go through,” Clough said. “Make no mistake about it and that’s why we’ll be picking a team to try and win the game.

“It’s the FA Cup, its’ important, why wouldn’t we?”