WIDE MEN CAN HURT HULL AND HELP MAKE HISTORY
AS you read this, my old club Sheffield United are getting ready to try and make history.
If the Blades can beat Hull at Wembley this afternoon they’ll be the first third-tier side to reach the FA Cup final.
Yes, they’re underdogs. But the way they played in the previous rounds, beating Aston Villa and Fulham, I’m sure Steve Bruce knows it won’t be a formality. The lad Scougall has done great since he arrived from Livingston. When I saw him warming up in the last round I had to ask if he was the mascot – he’s a tiny player, but he’s definitely got something about him. And I really like Ryan Flynn, the other wide man.
John Brayford has also been a great asset since coming on loan from Cardiff. It’s credit to Nigel Clough that John was willing to drop into League One because he shouldn’t be at that level. He’s sound defensively but he’s also got the class to hurt Hull going forward.
But the most important player will be Michael Doyle in midfield. So much of Hull’s play comes through the centre and he’ll be the one trying to stop them. He’s a player I really like – he’s just got to avoid doing anything stupid, which has been his tendency.
Remember, too, that Hull haven’t got Shane Long or Nikica Jelavic, both Cup-tied. Even with them, they’ve never been prolific at any stage. So there’s a lot for Nigel Clough to be optimistic about.
Nigel has shown in previous rounds he’s a cautious manager. He keeps it very tight for the first 45 minutes, trying to keep a clean sheet to get a bit of confidence in his lads. Then they open up a bit more.
The longer that tactic works the more frustrated Hull will get. It’s why I don’t expect it to be a good game if I’m honest.
However, both teams are more or less safe in their divisions, so they should be able to just enjoy it.
I know the fans will. When I got to the semi-final with the Blades in 2003, I walked out at Old Trafford to 60,000 people and the noise our fans made was incredible. I expect an even better atmosphere tomorrow.
Unlike us, they’ve been lucky with the draw – we got Arsenal when we could have had Southampton or Watford!