Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins believes his third tier underdogs should dare to dream as they bid to claim another famous scalp against Manchester United in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.
The Blades have built up an impressive reputation as cup fighters in recent seasons, reaching the FA Cup semi-final two seasons ago and last season reaching the last four of the League Cup.
Those successes were achieved under Nigel Clough and Adkins, who replaced Clough as manager of the League One club in June, wants to follow in his footsteps by sending United crashing to a humiliating defeat at Old Trafford.
“Manchester United should beat a League One side but that’s the beauty of the FA Cup and especially the third round,” Adkins said.
“There will be upsets and surprises and why can’t that be us? It’s the Theatre of Dreams, so why can’t we dream.
“It’s a game of football with three results on offer. We would be more than delighted with two of those.”
Adkins, 50, who led Southampton to the Premier League as manager in 2012, has taken Sheffield United into promotion contention on the back of a run of just two defeats in eight games, which has lifted them to eighth in the League One table.
Adkins, who has also managed Reading and Scunthorpe, knows the Blades face a massive test against a United team seeking to win the competition for a record-equalling 12th time.
But the Premier League side’s win over Swansea last weekend was their first win in nine games under Louis van Gaal and Adkins will look to exploit any vulnerability as the Yorkshire club, who last won the competition in 1925, seek one of their biggest results in their history.
– No fear –
“We are well aware of the massive threats Manchester United possess,” he added.
“They have tremendous players and an outstanding manager but we have got to belief and go there with no fear factor.
“The club has done really well in the cup competitions in the last few seasons and this is another opportunity.
“It’s a big step up but we can’t be fearful. It’s what we are striving for and where we want to be long-term, so let’s go and enjoy the occasion.”
For all United’s pedigree in the Cup, they haven’t lifted the trophy since beating Millwall in the 2004 final.