Sheffield United v Blackburn: FA Cup quarter-final – live | FA Cup
In the fifth round, both teams beat Premier League opposition.
Philip Rebbeck contacts: “It should be noted that these two great former clubs have won the FA Cup ten times between them. Admittedly, the last came in 1925 and 1928 respectively, but still impressive.
Daniel Gallan wrote a short preview of this game.
It has been eight years since a team from outside the Premier League reached the FA Cup semi-finals (Reading, in 2015). That drought will end this Sunday as either Sheffield United or Blackburn progress into the last four. This is the most open and inclusive edition of the tournament for some time – half of the final eight teams play outside the top flight. Sheffield United were third-tier semi-finalists in 2014, and this is their third quarter-final in four seasons. Blackburn have a shoddy record at Bramall Lane, having lost there on their four previous visits – and Rovers’ last win here came courtesy of a brace from Alan Shearer in 1994. A win this weekend and a trip at Wembley would provide a shot in the arm for either side as they both push for promotion.
My colleague and friend Will Unwin traveled the M65 deep into Lancashire, to learn about Rovers.
The last time Blackburn won an FA Cup quarter-final, in 2007, Hayden Carter was at Manchester City – the club they beat that day – albeit less than seven years away. The defender was released aged 13 and was signed by Blackburn, where he was joined by a number of teammates who faced similar rejection at Premier League clubs. They will be hoping the next step on their journey will be a semi-final at Wembley, the reward should they win at Sheffield United on Sunday.
The facilities and configuration of the rovers attract young people from further afield. Lewis Travis arrived after a time with Liverpool in his mid-teens, Manchester United’s Joe Rankin-Costello and Tyrhys Dolan played for Manchester City, Preston and Burnley before joining in his late teens.
Good detail on the news tweets of the teams of these Champo clubs. Premier League teams are taking note, as requested by the MBM community.
Sheffield United: Foderingham; Ahmedhodzic, Egan, Robinson; Baldock, Doyle, Berge, McAtee, Lowe; Ndiaye, McBurnie. Subtitles: Davies, Bogle, Basham, Arblaster, Norwood, Coulibaly, Fleck, Jebbison, Sharp
Blackburn Rover: Pears, Rankin-Costello, Carter, Hyam, Pickering, Travis, Morton, Hedges, Szmodics, Brereton, Gallagher. Subtitles: Kaminski, Brittain, S. Wharton, Phillips, Edun, Garrett, A. Wharton, Dolan, Leonard.
A great day for the championship, on terrestrial TV, rather than those of us devoted to the suave tones of Don Goodman and Andy Hinchcliffe, David Prutton and Michelle Owens in the studio, with Lee Hendrie’s costumes to boot. Both teams have far bigger fish to fry in the EFL, with Blades second but with Middlesbrough’s hot breath in their necks. Meanwhile, Rovers were grateful to Neil Warnock’s Huddersfield yesterday and kept their toe in sixth place and a play-off chance.
Now on to the FA Cup distraction in which the Blades have a richer recent history than Rovers, despite Blackburn’s heyday in the 1990s. United reached the semi-finals in 2013-14, losing against Hull, 2002-3, losing to Arsenal, and 1992-3, losing to Sheffield Wednesday with Alan Cork’s beard up front. Rovers last reached the semi-finals in 2004-5, when they lost to Arsenal with Mark Hughes as manager. The previous time was in 1960, Brian Douglas and all that, when they lost the final to Wolves.
To put all that history aside, the two managers, Paul Heckingbottom and Jon-Dahl Tomasson, risk mixing their pack. Blades did just that against Tottenham in the previous round and it really stuck at the throat of Antonio Conte, who mentioned it as part of his Southampton rant yesterday.
Either way, a visit to Wembley for two of English football’s oldest clubs is on the line.
Kick off at 12pm UK time. Meet me.