This fifth round replay takes place on the unusual day of Thursday, with these two sides drawing 1-1 in the first game. The prize of victory is a quarter-final tie against either Arsenal or Burnley, so the stakes are extremely high and you can bet your bottom dollar that both sides will be fielding very strong teams.
Hull’s recent form has been highly disappointing and funnily enough, the only shining point has been their FA Cup results. The Tigers have won just twice in their last fourteen games and considering the fact that both of those victories were in this competition, it’s no wonder that the prospect of relegation is entering supporters’ minds. While Phil Brown’s men may still be six points away from the drop zone, there’s absolutely no doubting that this horrific run needs to be turned around sharply if they are to stay in the Premier League. It wasn’t so long ago that they occupied a European placing and with the KC Stadium side now sat in 13th, it’s certainly been a turbulent few months although they’ll still be placing plenty of emphasis on this competition.
Sheffield United are in a similar boat, with recent league results for the Blades also being disappointing. Kevin Blackwell has come under lots of criticism having seen his side lose to fierce local rivals Sheffield Wednesday before then only drawing against lowly Plymouth. The Blades had a solid top six placing not so long ago but recent form has meant that they’ve now dropped to 7th and with sides like Reading and Cardiff having games in hand over them, the Bramall Lane outfit need to raise their game and make sure they get results back on track soon. However, with parachute payments running out this season, the club know how lucrative a run in this competition could turn out and they’ll be doing everything in their power to forget about the league for one night, and concentrate on winning at the KC.
However, it’s going to be one almighty struggle for the Blades to progress here. Home side Hull will be without Kevin Kilbane and Craig Fagan, but other than that Phil Brown has a strong squad to choose from. It’s a completely different situation for Kevin Blackwell as a lot of his players miss out due to being cup-tied. The likes of Craig Beattie, Leigh Bromby, Arturo Lupoli, Jamie Ward and John Joe O’Toole are all ineligible meaning that Blackwell has plenty of headaches. With Iain Bennett, Brian Howard and Matt Kilgallon also doubtful through injuries, United’s side may just pick itself.
As for a prediction, we can only go with a home win. If Sheffield United had a full squad to choose from then it may be different, but Kevin Blackwell’s squad is crippled at the moment and because of that we can only predict a Tigers victory – 2-0 Hull.