The Emirates FA Cup might not be high on the priorities of some of the big Premier League clubs, but that’s not the case for the likes of North End and Sheffield United.
The Lilywhites have sold out their initial allocation of tickets for Saturday’s trip to Bramall Lane, with another tier added to accommodate the more than 2,500 travelling across the Pennines and this was the same for the Blades in the last round as they sold out their 1,200 allocation at Ipswich, defeating the Tractor Boys at Portman Road to set up the tie with Alex Neil’s men.
And speaking to local paper the Sheffield Star ahead of the clash with his Championship promotion rivals, United boss Chris Wilder was keen to play up the competition rather than push it to one side.
“People keep saying the cup isn’t what it was for fans, that people don’t buy into it anymore,” he told The Star. “Well, we took 1,200 down to Ipswich with us, on a cold afternoon in January, just after Christmas when people don’t have any money.
“Then we sold out at Norwich and we’ll do the same, I’m sure, at Hull too.
“I live in the city and I know how hard it is to follow your team the length and breadth. That tells you all you need to know about our fans, they’ve been phenomenal.
“The backing is brilliant and, because of the effort they show, that’s why we always try and give them value for money.”
His team have been bolstered by four January recruits, however, only one of those – striker James Wilson on loan from Manchester United – is eligible, with the other three being cup tied, but this doesn’t limit the former Blades player’s options too much.
“We’re okay injury wise,” he continued. “The lads were outstanding, with everything they did, at Norwich.
“So to come away from a really competitive game like that with no new injury problems is really pleasing.
“We’ve got to plot a course through the schedule. We’ve got a big cup tie and then some glamorous Championship games.”