Sheffield United will need to be on top of their game if they’re to mount a challenge against Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
The Blades could be without Ciaran Clark, Ismaila Coulibaly and Will Osula for the game against Spurs. Clark and Coulibaly look to be further on in their recovery than Osula – the pair have been playing for the U21s recently to help regain match fitness.
While Jack O’Connell is a confirmed absentee, there has been encouraging news regarding his status. The 28-year-old, who has been out of action for over two years, has recently been spotted training with the first team – but Heckingbottom is keen to treat his recovery with the utmost care.
In the previous round of the FA Cup, Sheffield United needed to beat Ryan Reynolds’ Wrexham to get this far. The tie was stretched out over two legs – the first game ended in a dramatic 3-3 draw. The Blades trailed late on, but pulled level at the death thanks John Egan.
In the second leg, played at Bramall Lane, United defeated their non-league opposition by a score of 3-1. The game looked to peter out to another draw, until club legend Billy Sharp struck in the 94th minute – followed two minutes later by Sander Berge.
Spurs had a much more comfortable time in the fourth round of the cup, despite facing higher-tier opposition. They were drawn up against Preston North End – they entered the break with the score at 0-0, but Tottenham put their foot on the gas in the second half. A goal from Arnaut Danjuma and a brace from Son Heung-min was enough to fend the Lilywhites off and secure a place in Round Five.