Sheffield United: New signings could make debuts

Stefan Scougall (front) and Elliott Whitehouse � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Stefan Scougall (front) and Elliott Whitehouse � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

John Brayford, Bob Harris and Stefan Scougall could make their Sheffield United debuts against Fulham today.

But Billy Paynter, Elliott Whitehouse and Callum McFadzean are all ineligible for selection having represented other clubs in previous rounds.

United manager Nigel Clough, who allowed Tony McMahon to join Blackpool as part of the deal which saw Harris arrive at Bramall Lane, insisted a place in the fifth round draw is his team’s sole objective this afternoon. (kick-off 1pm).

“We’re not looking for the public acclaim,” Clough, whose team beat Aston Villa in the previous round, said. “We know how well we played on the day there and the size of the achievement of winning at Villa Park.

“Internally, that’s all we worry about. We know we played well. We deserve the accolades but we’re not looking for the public ones, really.

“It’s more that the players know and that 6,000 fans went and supported them. That’s enough.

“It put a smile on the faces of lots of people. Somebody told me it was the best day out they’d had for a few years.”

Fulham are expected to include Dan Burn, who faced United three times during a loan spell at Yeovil Town last term, in their starting eleven.

“I got to know them quite well,” Burn said. “They’ll be pressing hard and they won’t let us have any time on the ball.

“Compared to the games against Norwich City in the third round, it will be very different to that.”

“They’ll probably go quite direct, using the channels, and they’ve got two big centre-halves,” Burn added. “Last season I think they conceded the least goals out of all four leagues and I don’t think the back four has changed much.

“They’ve got some very good players and squad-wise, I’d say they’ve got one of the best in League One.”

Michael Doyle, the United captain, yesterday revealed the South Yorkshire club’s support had been instrumental in helping them overcome Villa.

Burn said: “Bramall Lane’s a great stadium, probably my favourite to play at last season.

“The fans sing their Greasy Chip Butty song beforehand and create a good atmosphere. It will be a really big test and one I don’t think we can take lightly.

“They’ve shown they can beat Barclays Premier League opposition in Aston Villa so they’ve got nothing to fear. They want to progress as far as they can in this cup so we’ve got to make sure we’re on our guard and get a result.”

United return to League One action on Wednesday when Peterborough, who had also courted Scougall’s signature, arrive at Bramall Lane.

“We all know it’s been a bit of a struggle in the league,” Clough, appointed in October, said. “So it’s great, not to mention very important, that the FA Cup has put people in good spirits.

“We want to stay in it as well. We’ve got a lot of games coming up but we want to go as far as we can in the competition.”