Jose Baxter is relishing Sheffield United’s status as underdogs ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest, writes James Shield.
And the former Everton midfielder, who played an instrumental role in the League One club’s victories over Aston Villa and Fulham in previous rounds, last night insisted those results mean Nigel Clough’s side are undaunted by the prospect of facing a team unbeaten since the end of November.
“I love us being the lowest ranked team,” Baxter said. “We are batting for League One and doing really well.
“Another win and we will be in the quarters. That is a big incentive.
“I wasn’t bothered who we got in the draw. If you get a big boy, then you are happy at having another chance to cause an upset.
“But then if you get someone a bit lower down, you are happy because it is a better chance. As a team, we are on a high at the moment so anyone would have done.”
Baxter was a member of the Oldham Athletic team which beat his boyhood idols Liverpool in last season’s competition.
United’s march into the fifth round stage has evoked memories of that success for the 22-year-old. However, he acknowledged Forest’s Championship status, coupled with the fact they must visit Bramall Lane, means the fixture boasts a different dynamic to those at Craven Cottage and Villa Park.
“There’s a bit more pressure on us in this game,” Baxter said. “In the last two rounds we have been up against Premier League opposition.
“But Forest are not as big as the two teams we have beaten. To me, though, I see Forest as a very tough game and this is going to be a special match.”
“My favourite cup memory was beating Liverpool with Oldham,” Baxter added. “I’m a Liverpool fan so that was pretty special.
“Maybe we can get them again in the next round and beat them again. That would be great.”
United, who slipped to 22nd in the table following the postponement of Wednesday’s game with Brentford, resume their battle for survival at Gillingham next week.
“I would say we’ve won a bit of respect through what we have done in the cup but it is still vitally important that we do well in the league,” Baxter said. “That is the big thing for Sheffield United.
“The season is going to be busy now. We want to play, not train and we can’t wait.”