Sheffield United: ‘Dare to dream’ boss tells players

Sheffield United players celebrate winning their fourth round replay at Fulham � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Sheffield United players celebrate winning their fourth round replay at Fulham � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

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Nigel Clough has insisted his players can reach Wembley ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Nottingham Forest, writes James Shield.

But the Sheffield United manager, whose team have beaten Aston Villa and Fulham en route to this weekend’s meeting with Billy Davies’ side, acknowledged that preserving the club’s League One status remains top priority at Bramall Lane.

With the national stadium set to stage April’s semi-finals, Clough said: “Of course we have a chance of Wembley. We are two games away from doing it and we have to believe that we can.

“There’s no point in saying that we can’t. Because that’s what we are in the competition for, to try and win matches and go as far as we possibly can.

“Can a team from outside of the top-flight get to the last four? If the draw for the next round is kind and they get a break then why not.

“Yes, we want it. Not as much as staying-up but yes, we want to go through. Definitely.”

Asked whether he would swap a victory over Forest for three points when United return to league action at Gillingham next week, Clough, replied: “Perhaps not but, then again, we believe we can do both.”

United, 22nd in the table after Wednesday’s visit of Brentford was postponed, could make several changes to the starting eleven which beat Shrewsbury Town last weekend as Clough looks to negotiate safe passage through a congested fixture schedule which demands they play nine times in 30 days.

Billy Paynter and Elliott Whitehouse are both ineligible for selection but captain Michael Doyle is available after serving a three match ban.