No talk of being underdogs as Sheffield United head into their FA Cup fourth round clash with Birmingham City: “We’ve got a great chance,” says Danny Wilson.
The Blades boss fancied the draw from the moment it was made, despite knowing it would pitch his in-form side against a club from a higher division.
It is a sign of the confidence coursing through Bramall Lane, where United have been blessed with a home run all the way in the competition, that the traditional underplaying of the lower team’s chances is playing no part in Wilson’s preparations.
His side have dealt with the ball being on the other foot in sweeping Oxford, Torquay and Salisbury from their path in the most professional fashion.
Now Wilson hopes to reap further rewards from embracing the old competition rather than seeing it as a distraction from the promotion imperative.
“It’s a tough test but it’s one we fancy,” he told the Telegraph, having watched Birmingham win their replay with Wolves and seen them climb into Championship play-off contention.
“We’ll have no fear of the tie and I think we’ve got a great chance. If we play as we can, we can give Birmingham a run for their money. Chris Hughton has done a great job there and has some very good players.
“I’m sure they’ll approach it correctly or they’ll have a problem - just as we respected the teams that came here previously. It’s a one-off game and hopefully we can carry on with the run.”
The game is a good antidote to the lingering disappointment of last week’s unlucky defeat at League One leaders Charlton where the performance of referee Darren Deadman remained a bone of contention for Wilson this week.
Not only was Wilson, who had James Beattie sent off, still “mystified” by some “whacky decisions that still rankle”, he felt Deadman failed to clamp down on timewasting by Charlton. That is a familiar refrain after the leaders’ equally narrow victory at Hillsborough the previous week sparked a similar protest from Sheffield Wednesday’s Gary Megson.
“Lots of gamesmanship went on but I’m not going to complain about that,” said Wilson. “That’s the referee’s job. It’s down to the officials to get the ball back in play.
“But despite the result I take a lot of positives from some terrific play by our boys.”
No news is good news on the transfer front despite the lack of a signing amid more “talking and looking” and Blackpool’s Billy Clarke still being “on the radar.”
As Wilson put it: “If nobody goes, that might be the best signing we have.”
And United’s manager is also putting promotion a long way ahead of personal popularity polls. Perhaps the only missing ingredient is a crowd salute to the manager who has put the pride back into the club.
Much has been made by some fans of that fact that Wilson has yet to be serenaded by the crowd. That in itself is a sign of mounting acceptance.
But Wilson could not be more indifferent to hearing his name sung.
“I’m not bothered about that in the slightest,” he insisted.
“And I can’t control what people think of me.
“In the end, it’s all about getting results. If people are seeing us win and they are enjoying their football, then that is all that matters to me.”