Sheffield United may have knocked out Manchester City in the last round of the FA Cup, although they may have a far tougher assignment against Middlesbrough on Sunday. Gareth Southgate’s men are proving to be increasingly resilient on their travels, with victories at Bristol City and Mansfield already in the competition to date. Setanta report that the Boro gaffer is pleased his team are showing some backbone away from the Riverside.
“Our away form especially – four wins and four draws from our last nine – has been very pleasing,” Southgate said.
“Historically, we have been a bit of a soft touch on the road, and that has been a really good sign.
“The players have to take enormous credit. They are a strong unit at the moment.
“They have been able to put aside all the other issues which came up in January and they have focused on the job in hand.
“In recent weeks, we have gone behind at Bristol City in the cup and in the game at Newcastle, and the players have not panicked, they have been very positive in their response.
“They have to take a tremendous amount of credit. There is a strong team spirit amongst them now and they have got to keep that.”
The fact that the Blades have finally got rid of Bryan Robson this week adds a new dimension to this tie, with former assistant manager Kevin Blackwell now taking charge. He’s already engineered a draw with Liverpool when managing Luton; can he go one better and consign Boro to a last-16 cup exit?