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Friday April 11, 2014 MYT 11:12:02 PM
Friday April 11, 2014 MYT 11:13:10 PM
by martyn herman
Sheffield United's manager Nigel Clough (C) gestures during their FA Cup soccer match against Fulham at Bramhall Lane in Sheffield, northern England January 26, 2014. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis
LONDON (Reuters) - Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough does not have to worry about disappointing any of his players by leaving them out of the squad for Sunday's FA Cup semi-final against Hull City.
All 18 of his senior players are in contention for the match at Wembley.
"No-one will not be involved. We only have an 18-man squad," Clough, son of the late Brian Clough who never managed to win the FA Cup despite title-winning spells as manager of Derby County and Nottingham Forest, said.
"That's the thing with a smaller squad is everyone has a chance to be involved. It can be demoralising to sit in the stand on a big occasion like this," he told the Sheffield Star.
Clough, 48, took over as League One (third tier) Sheffield United manager in October and has transformed their fortunes since, steering them away from the relegation zone.
Having won the FA Cup on four occasions, they can boast a greater pedigree in the competition than trophy-less Hull City, even though their last success was in 1925.
They will start as massive underdogs, however, against the Premier League side who have all but secured another campaign in the top flight, having been promoted last season.
"Our chances are slim because we're playing a team two divisions above us," Clough, who twice won the League Cup while a midfielder at Forest under his dad, said.
"With the quality the Premier League teams have, they are huge favourites. I can't see how anyone can argue with that.
"Maybe we get given a little bit more chance by people because of what we have done so far in the competition. But in 90 minutes, they have to score against us.
"It is so many years since a League One team got to this stage and I don't think one has got to the final so that's why Hull are favourites," he added.
"Hull will be the sternest test. I would have said that even if it had been the round before, never mind Wembley. They are used to the bigger games, going to Old Trafford and so on."
United are indeed bidding to become the first third-tier side to reach the final and should they win and holders Wigan Athletic surprise Arsenal, it would be the first time no top flight club has made it to the final.
(Editing by Rex Gowar)
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