Davies aims to emulate Bruce

12 April 2014 04:01

Curtis Davies will hope to emulate one of his childhood heroes by winning at Wembley on Sunday, with the curious twist that the same idol is now his manager.

The Hull defender is likely to lead City out for their FA Cup semi-final with Sheffield United on Sunday - their first last-four appearance in 84 years - with a place in a maiden showpiece on the line.

If Hull do win against their lower-league opponents, they will be able to stand alongside boss Steve Bruce as players to have won at the national stadium, with Bruce a regular visitor there during his time with Manchester United.

Davies was a United fan in that glittering era and looked up to Bruce as a child - not that he is willing to let his manager's head get too big and will not admit to ever having had posters of him on his bedroom wall.

"It's all success with him!" he said. "The gaffer was obviously joking around once and said 'I've never lost a semi-final and I don't think I've lost a final'.

"Then we had to remind him about the Everton final (which United lost) in 1995. He wasn't too happy about that but we had to remind him! We obviously had a bit of banter but we admire what the gaffer has done as a man and as a player. We want to emulate the success he had as a player as a manager for him. That would be massive for us."

Bruce won the trophy in 1990, 1994 and 1996 and Davies added: "I grew up as a Man United fan so I remember all those finals, especially the Everton one because they lost and the gaffer was on the line trying to stop the goal - I always remember that!

"As a youngster I was a striker. Like a lot of players you start as a striker then you get pushed down the field. But obviously I admired the gaffer and Gary Pallister back then. The partnership was quality, they complimented each other very well. But I'm a big fan of the gaffer. I've always gone on record to say he was the best centre-half not to play for England. That was always a shame at the time.

"I'm not sure they did posters of the gaffer! Maybe to keep kids away from the fire! I didn't have any posters of him. My posters were always of Andy Cole, Eric Cantona, of all the strikers. I had the Kanchelskis shirt when I was younger too. I think it cost my dad a bomb to get it put on the back."

Bruce is without ineligible strike duo Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long so must now decide who to start in attack, with Sone Aluko, Matty Fryatt and Yannick Sagbo all vying for a place.

Tom Huddlestone is set to be fine to play after missing last weekend's win over Swansea with a back problem. Steve Harper will start in goal.

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough is hoping to choose from a full-strength squad.

Defenders Bob Harris (thigh) and Matt Hill (hamstring), striker Jose Baxter (hip) and midfielder Stefan Scougall (thigh) have all shaken off their respective injuries in the last week and will be available for selection.

Clough will use stories of Hull fans taking victory in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley for granted to fire up his players ahead of kick-off.

Both clubs were allocated 32,000 tickets and while Sheffield United quickly sold out, 5,000 Hull tickets remained unsold, amid suggestions Tigers fans are saving their money for the final itself on May 17.

"We've heard a few stories that the Hull supporters are saving themselves for the final," said Clough.

"Whether that's true or not, we're not sure, but our fans certainly aren't and if we do get there we'll sell out as quickly as we did for the semi-final.

"The supporters are desperate for a bit of success and to see their team on the pitch at Wembley.

"I don't think that will be the thoughts of Steve (Bruce) and those in the dressing room, but I'm sure outside of that there will be one or two supporters thinking that.

"The cost of the whole day and getting down there, it's going to be £100 for the day I would have thought with the ticket and the travel, so you can probably understand it.

"But it might be a risk. Any little thing we can use like that, we'll use because we need everything on our side we can get come Sunday."

Source: PA