Chris Wilder's notes from this evening's matchday programme
If tonight's replay lives up to the first match then we are in for an excellent game of football tonight. I thought the first match was a great cup tie for the fans to enjoy. There were goals, chances and last-minute drama and two teams giving it their all to get through to the next round. Hopefully tonight will be just as good, but with the result going in our favour.
That first game confirmed what we knew anyway, that Accrington are a decent side with a lot of good players, and we will treat them with the greatest respect. Leam Richardson is doing a tremendous job since he took over and is someone I have known for a while and think will go a long way in management. He will have his side prepared properly and focussed on the job they have to do, just as our team will go out there in a positive frame of mind. A home draw against Sheffield United is the prize but we will not be thinking any further ahead than tonight's game.
We come into it on a little unbeaten run that could so easily have seen us pick up even better results. On Saturday against Aldershot I thought we just lacked that little bit of quality to get a second goal and pull away from a hard working Aldershot side who are no mugs. They have now gone six games unbeaten away from home and made it hard for us, but I felt we were in control of much of the game. Ryan Clarke has hardly had a shot to save other than a wonderfully well-struck goal that he could do nothing about.
We picked up a point from the game but I was very proud of my team last week. Emotionally there was so much going on, and you add the long trips to Accrington and Plymouth into the equation and begin to see how hard it was. I believe that most fans appreciated what the team had been through and sometimes you have to put football into perspective to understand that we are all human. Thank you to the supporters for helping the team through a difficult time.
On a positive note it looks as though the injuries to Andy Whing and JP Pittman are not as serious as we first feared and both should be back in contention in a few weeks. At one stage it was looking as though their seasons could be over already, but specialists’ advice is that the injuries are not as severe as first thought.
That is good news, and with Damian Batt and Liam Davis both available again and doing well and Tommy Craddock coming back last weekend we are starting to get important players fit at the right time.
December is a big month with a lot of games to play and the opportunity to go into the second half of the season on a roll.
Having made it to the area semi-final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and with results starting to go our way in the league it would be fantastic to know we also have the next round of the FA Cup to look forward to.