This was a regular fixture in the Championship several years ago, but Sheffield United’s demise over the campaigns means that they are seen as firm underdogs in this fifth round clash. However, this is something that they are used to, with the Blades knocking out two top flight sides on their way to this stage of the competition.
It’s been an utterly frustrating year for the Blades from a league perspective and despite playing in the upper regions of English football just a few years ago, Nigel Clough’s side are now in danger of dropping to the bottom tier as they occupy 22nd place in League One. Since the turn of the year they have managed just one victory in the league and it would be fair to say that most of their joy has arrived in the FA Cup. After grabbing a narrow 2-1 away win over Aston Villa, the Bramall Lane outfit followed up that result by earning a replay with Fulham. Extra time came to their aid this time around and considering their lowly status, most people will be rooting for them to cause another scalp this weekend.
Nottingham Forest meanwhile are battling in the upper reaches of the Championship. While progression in the FA Cup will please fans, there’s no doubt that Billy Davies’ main goal is to achieve promotion. With just five points separating the club from the top two they still have the chance for a shot at going up automatically as well. Their recent form also suggests that this could happen, with Forest now unbeaten in sixteen games. Having won two of their last three on the road, and not lost in nine away games, they’ll certainly be full of confidence as they make the short trip up the M1.
As for team news, Sheffield United will be able to call upon captain Michael Doyle as he returns from suspension. However, it’s not all positive for the Blades, with Elliott Whitehouse, Callum McFadzean and Billy Paynter all ineligible having played for other clubs in previous rounds. Forest are in a similar boat and Billy Davies could be without three players as well. Guy Moussi and Djamel Abdoun are both classed as touch-and-go, while Henri Lansbury has already been classed as a definite absentee as he struggles on the treatment table.
If we look towards a prediction, we just don’t foresee the fairy-tale cup ending. Sheffield United have performed almightily well to get to this stage of the competition, but this time they are up against a side who are in very good form and will not be taking them for granted. Bearing this in mind, our tip for this clash is going to be a 2-0 victory for Billy Davies’ men.