Most Sheffield United fans would normally say sacrifice the cup, put the kids out, and concentrate on the league table.
Of course, that’s a perfectly acceptable attitude to have. In fact, it’s one that Chris Wilder has probably shared over the last few years, given our record in the competition and the team selections.
Last season was no different. Put simply, we had to ensure we survived in the top flight and while silverware is brilliant to get in the bag, the riches of Premier League football are more important these days.
But in a season that is sliding into one of the worst in living memory for most Blades in terms of results, could a change in attitude and tact towards England’s premier cup competition actually save our season and help us going forward?
In a nutshell, going on a storming FA Cup run might just be the saving grace for United this term.
Up for grabs
Without being negative, the facts are that – barring some miracle – the Blades will be playing Championship football next season.
Yes, there’re 19 games left to play and 57 points up for grabs, but the reality of the situation is that we need Champions League form and a lot of luck to stay up.
But an unlikely cup run could do wonders for us. The fourth and fifth round draws have already been made and both have presented favourable ties for United. Bramall Lane for both, against Plymouth this weekend, and then the winner of Bristol City and Millwall.
A place in the quarter-finals could well beckon and then we are one game from Wembley and suddenly a massive uplift around the whole club.
Confidence and momentum
Those two words are big in football and get used a lot. But there’s a reason for it. We’ve seen since our win over Bristol Roves two improved Premier League showings. Yes, Spurs saw us off but the actual display wasn’t all that bad, as I discussed here.
A cup run could do wonders for United. And while we might not win the entire competition as we come up against the big boys later on, it could still help us going into next season, if not this.
A well navigated FA Cup run probably isn’t going to translate into enough in terms of Premier League points. But the notion that we can simply bounce straight back up if we do go down with a whimper is tough to accept.
But, go into a new season having reached the latter stages of a the FA Cup and with some renewed confidence, and suddenly the Blades can be back in their groove and going for an instant return to PL life.
After all, wouldn’t it be the most Sheffield United thing ever to go down with a record low points, but win the FA Cup at the same time?