Clough expecting derby atmosphere

15 February 2014 02:16

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough is expecting "a bit of needle" on Sunday when his former club Nottingham Forest visit Bramall Lane in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Clough, 47, made his Football League debut for Forest under father Brian in 1986 and went on to score 102 goals in over 300 appearances for the club that will forever be etched with the family surname.

The former Burton and Derby boss, currently locked in a battle to stop the Blades sliding into Sky Bet League Two after taking over from David Weir in October, has found solace in this season's major cup competition.

The Blades have already beaten Barclays Premier League outfits Aston Villa and Fulham, and Clough is relishing his side's latest challenge against a club that holds so many memories.

"There have been some good games over the years between the two clubs, so I hope this is no different," he said.

"There's always been that little bit of spice, a bit of needle with us not being far away, 30-odd miles away, and although it's not a direct local derby, it's got a little bit of a feeling of that.

"The fact that they've sold over 5,000 tickets, that says what the Forest supporters think of it and we're going to sell 20,000 and we already know about our support that's been to Villa and down to Fulham and everything.

"It's a cup-tie that everybody is looking forward to."

With Sheffield Wednesday drawn against Charlton in their fifth-round tie, Clough senses a growing feeling that the two city rivals could yet meet in the latter rounds, sparking memories of their semi-final clash at Wembley in 1993.

"It's amazing that this city supports two football clubs of such size," Clough added.

"When I was playing we always did okay at Wednesday, but we never got much at Bramall Lane over the years.

"I don't think it's a ground that away players particularly enjoy going to.

"We're talking about two big clubs who are probably equal in size. Not many cities would support that with the same fervour the supporters here do."

The Blades, deserved 2-1 winners at Villa Park in the third round, drew 1-1 with Fulham at Bramall Lane in round four and pulled off another upset in the replay at Craven Cottage.

With the scores locked at 0-0 in the final minute of extra time, Shaun Miller ghosted in at the far post to head home an unlikely winner to set up Sunday's date with Forest.

Nottingham Forest midfielder Andy Reid admits sentiment will count for nothing when he attempts to knock his former club out of the competition.

In a bid to build up his fitness following an injury in 2010, the Irishman - then on the books of Sunderland - dropped down a division to join the Blades on loan and went on to spend three months at the club.

However, despite enjoying his time at Bramall Lane, the 31-year-old will be doing all he can on Sunday to help Forest secure a place in the last eight for the first time since 1996.

"I spent three months on loan at Sheffield United and I really enjoyed it," Reid told the club's official website.

"But we are going there to win the game. We are on a fantastic run of form, we want to keep that going.

"We have got a great opportunity to get into the next round of the cup. So we will focus again and get ready for what is a really big game for us."

Jamie Paterson has excelled for Billy Davies' side this term following his summer switch from Walsall.

The winger scored a second-half hat-trick in the resounding 5-0 win over Barclays Premier League outfit West Ham at the City Ground in round three.

And after bagging a brace in the midweek victory at Huddersfield, which extended Forest's unbeaten run to 16 matches in all competitions, Reid has backed his team-mate to continue his fine form.

"He is a young player so it is important we help keep his feet on the ground, that we help him to keep learning," Reid added.

"He is not the finished article by any stretch of the imagination. But he can go on to be a top, top player."

Guy Moussi is expected to miss the tie with a calf injury sustained against the Terriers.

David Vaughan, Chris Cohen, Dexter Blackstock (all knee), Kelvin Wilson, Henri Lansbury (both back) and Eric Lichaj (hernia) all remain on the sidelines.

Source: PA