Sheffield United hold Wrexham to a last-gasp draw and force replay in six-goal thriller
By James Ducker, at the Racecourse Ground
This was one blockbuster that Ryan Reynolds really did not want to see a sequel to. The extraordinary Wrexham story was within touching distance of another fairy-tale only for the 10 men of Sheffield United to deliver a bitter late twist in the plot.
The National League leaders were on the verge of reaching the FA Cup fifth round for the first time in 26 years when John Egan popped up in the fifth minute of stoppage time to break their hearts.
To say the ending was cruel on Wrexham and their outstanding supporters was an understatement. They had battled back from conceding after just 63 seconds and losing two defenders in quick succession at the start of the game to edge in front and then, when United equalised, summoned another huge effort to lead again with four minutes to go after capitalising on Daniel Jebbison’s earlier red card.
Reynolds, the star of the Deadpool movie franchise and Wrexham’s co-chairman, had rushed out of his seat in the stands to punch the air with delight and let out an almighty roar when Paul Mullin’s shot hit the back of the net.
Hollywood could not have imagined it any better – the Cup’s last non-League representatives close to knocking out a team chasing promotion to the Premier League. And then Egan ripped up the script and, like a good movie villain, celebrated the goal by cupping his ears in front of Wrexham’s crestfallen fans, a smirk etched on his face. A replay at Bramall Lane now awaits.
“Ryan came in the dressing room afterwards and said some great words to the lads,” Phil Parkinson, the Wrexham manager, said. “It meant a lot to the team because they gave everything.
“It’s mixed emotions but the way the lads performed on the big stage was outstanding – character, heart, quality. All those qualities mixed together are going to take this club a very long way.”
Wrexham’s fortunes have been transformed since Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, the man behind the hit US sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, bought the club two years ago and the excitement and expectation coming into the game was palpable. But, as starts go, this was of the disaster movie variety.
Oli McBurnie headed United in front from Thomas Doyle’s corner after barely a minute, Jordan Tunnicliffe suffered suspected ankle ligament damage in the process of trying to stop the goal and had to be taken to hospital, and before long, Wrexham were another defender down after Aaron Hayden pulled up with a calf injury.
Wrexham have a rich history of FA Cup giant killing – Arsenal, then the English champions, being their most famous victims in 1992 – but it was clear they were going to have to do it the hard way to claim another scalp. The reaction, then, after reorganising, was hugely impressive and it was certainly hard to believe that 71 places separated the sides in the football pyramid.
Mullin, who had six goals in three Cup games coming into this and 26 for the season, was a persistent thorn in United’s side and was denied one-on-one by Adam Davies after racing on to goalkeeper Mark Howard’s long kick forward and poking the ball past Jaden Bogel.
The non-League side were in front shortly after the hour, and it was no more than they deserved. First Tom O’Connor hooked the latest long throw-in missile from Ben Tozer into the path of James Jones and the substitute scooped the ball past Davies to equalise.
Then O’Connor drilled home a loose ball after Billy Sharp failed to clear Luke Young’s corner and Wrexham were daring to dream. They were also dismayed not to be awarded a penalty for an apparent handball by Anel Ahmedhodzic.
The lead would prove short-lived, though. Ollie Norwood equalised when he steered home a shot low into the corner after his first effort was blocked, but before too long United found themselves reduced to 10 men when Jebbison was sent off for kicking out at Tozer.
Wrexham’s supporters sensed a winner. They thought it had come when Ollie Palmer lashed a shot at goal only for it to cannon off the bar and down. But then Mullin exchanged a one-two with Sam Dalby to fire home and glory beckoned. Egan, though, had other ideas and was on hand to slot home Doyle’s cross unopposed at the far post.
Wrexham 3 Sheffield United 3 – as it happened:
Mullin thought he had the winner...
Absolute scenes! Could that be the winner?!#BBCFACup #BBCFootball #FACup pic.twitter.com/x9sgIwb2ns
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 29, 2023
But John Egan had something to say about that...
You cannot take your eyes off this game! Sheffield United draw level again! #BBCFACup #BBCFootball #FACup pic.twitter.com/qcSUbAKKL8
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 29, 2023
It was a game that had everything.
What a match for Wrexham, and a scattering of players in red shirts fall to the ground in shock. They thought there was time for one last attack, but it wasn't to be. Instead, they'll have to contend with a replay at Bramall Lane, to do this all again.
GOAL!!! Wrexham 3 Sheffield United 3
But they get it this time! A well-worked corner flies in from the right courtesy of Doyle curves nicely for a running Egan, who paces himself perfectly to finish past Howard.
And there's still time to play.
90+3 min: Wrexham 3 Sheffield United 2
Doyle sends in a fizzing cross to Ndiaye at the far post, who tries to head it to the near, but it leaps just wide and denies Sheffield United one more opportunity to equalise.
90+1 min: Wrexham 3 Sheffield United 2
Seven more added minutes, to cap an eventful second half. Bogle picks up a yellow knocking Lee down forcefully, and unnecessarily, and concedes a freekick in the middle of the Sheffield half.
89 min: Wrexham 3 Sheffield United 2
Sheffield United look faintly shell-shocked. With the clock running down, Davies sends the ball up to the halfway line, but a misplayed ball is looped over Sheffield heads to a running Dalby, looking for Wrexham's fourth. But he skies it, before going down with a brief ankle issue.
GOAL!!! Wrexham 3 Sheffield United 2
Mullin gets his goal to put Wrexham ahead after flooding up the field with Dalby and Palmer flanking him. He's in prime position to receive a quick-cut cross in front of goal to strike past Davies with the barest of touches.
That's 30 goals in all competitions this season.
85 min: Wrexham 2 Sheffield United 2
The threats from Wrexham keep coming and coming, quite wildly, as Dalby cuts in front of Mullin on the edge of the box, to cross against the goal mouth optimistically looking for Palmer at the far post. No luck there, and Sheffield take the opportunity to bother Howard, with Norwood sending in a long-range palm-stinger.
83 min: Wrexham 2 Sheffield United 2
Wrexham draw Sheffield wide as Mullin looks to cause trouble on the right. Resetting, Dalby sends in another cross looking for a similar impact, but this time, the ball is blocked out for a throw-in.
Sheffield United deal with this one efficiently, pushing Wrexham back into their own half.
81 min: Wrexham 2 Sheffield United 2
Dalby crosses the ball to Palmer, amid mass appeals for handball as the ball takes a small deflection off Ahmedhodzic en route to the Wrexham player, who blasts the ball at Davies so cleanly that he begins his celebrations – but it's struck the wood-work!
79 min: Wrexham 2 Sheffield United 2
Sheffield flood forward, looking far less empowered than they did before that potentially fatal red card. But Bogle is still showing his quality, and battles with high up by the corner to win Sheffield the goal kick.
77 min: Wrexham 2 Sheffield United 2
Tozer ushers the ball up the field, before Jones sets up Mullin on the right. Sheffield United begin clogging the box as a cross flies in, and Egan fumes at Davies not looking adequately prepared for it, as the ball springs back out but still in play.
Lowe tussles with Mullin and fumbles the ball out for a throw-in high up the pitch, which O'Connor headers over the crossbar.
74 min: Wrexham 2 Sheffield United 2
Still mulling that one over, as I'm sure Sheffield United will be too. But Wrexham must take advantage, and they begin by surging up the pitch following a sprint in from the left. It's stymied quickly, as Sheffield spring into action.
A substitute for Wrexham, as McFadzean comes off for Dalby, switching the focus firmly to attack.
70 min: Wrexham 2 Sheffield United 2
The referee halts play, wanting to speak to the coaching staff, as three Wrexham players warm up on the sidelines.
He's talking about a red card for someone, and a yellow card for someone else, as per basic lipreading...
Jebbison is called forward, and given a red card for retaliation off the ball! Almost certainly a game-changer for Sheffield United. On the replay, it's clear that he's scrapped with Tozer on the halfway line. Tozer was involved too, and it feels like quite a harsh red card. Tozer gets a yellow.
68 min: Wrexham 2 Sheffield United 2
Ndiaye goes on a barnstorming run, weaving across the edge of the box and slaloming past Wrexham defenders. He gets his shot away, but can't find the back of the net to cap and oh-so-smooth move.
Sheffield look buoyed up, and it could be only a matter of time before their superior quality wins out. Jebbison and Bogle in particular still have a lot to give.
GOAL!!! Wrexham 2 Sheffield United 2
Sheffield have pulled it back, with a moment of firepower from very little. A lovely glancing cross from Sharp finds the box and Wrexham fumble their clearance of the ball. Eventually, Norwood takes charge and fires the ball past Howard to bring things level.
We may have a match on our hands...
64 min: Wrexham 2 Sheffield United 1
Tensions at a boiling point, and things bubble over somewhat, with McFadzean the one to pick up the yellow card following a punchy Wrexham challenge.
GOAL!!! Wrexham 2 Sheffield United 1
Unbelievable! Another set-piece, and another goal! The corner is hoofed right to the edge of the six-yard box, flat and straight, and it finds O'Connor, who rifles it past Davies.
Quite incredible. But can they hold their lead?
60 min: Wrexham 1 Sheffield United 1
Lee streaks through the centre of the Sheffield half, before setting up McFadzean, who looks for Mullin. He takes a shot on the edge of the box which is deflected out for a throw-in.
Wrexham are thoroughly in control now, the throw sent into the mix before being shuffled out, but only as far as Tozer, who has a terrific long-range shot at goal that only just misses, and is bundled out for a corner.
58 min: Wrexham 1 Sheffield United 1
Two changes for Sheffield United: McBurnie and Osborn off for Ndiaye and Sharp.
56 min: Wrexham 1 Sheffield United 1
Palmer winds towards goal through the left, getting away until he's found by Doyle, and pushed back. But Wrexham are looking much more confident and peppy.
A yellow card follows for Young, who overturns the at-times troublesome Jebbison.
54 min: Wrexham 1 Sheffield United 1
Ahmedhodzic tracks Mullin closely down the left, and Mullin forces him into conceding another opportune long throw for Tozer. It flies to the edge of the six-yard box, hits a Sheffield head, and sparks for Lee on the edge of the box. He rockets it over the crossbar with no little effort.
GOAL!!! Wrexham 1 Sheffield United 1
The home side have their equaliser, from a long throw by Tozer. It's flicked by O'Connor to Jones, for him to heave a messy ball in, under fire from Jebbison, and the ball entirely outfoxes Davies!
Wrexham have their equaliser.
That's the start to the second half the home fans wanted! #BBCFACup #BBCFootball #FACup pic.twitter.com/0PLrjhP5nB
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 29, 2023
48 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Jones skids out of play, as Basham goes in for a challenge that doesn't quite come off, but might have proved nasty.
Mass chaos in the Sheffield United box, after Young strikes from just outside the box to sting Davies' palms. The ball glances back for the players to hack at before the ball heads out for a throw.
46 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Basham leaps onto the shoulders of a Wrexham player questing for the ball, and is promptly given a freekick against him.
Wrexham are looking to make their way slowly but forcefully into Sheffield United territory, but Sheffield are professional enough to keep that at a safe distance.
Second half: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
A change for Sheffield United, Max Lowe comes on for McAtee.
The home side will get us underway in a moment or two.
Night falling in North Wales
After that worst-possible start, Wrexham have looked marginally the better after the first 45, having had the lion's share of the chances. That being said, Sheffield United have their lead, and the advantage of being able to carry out their original game plan. If they subdue the Mullin-Palmer partnership, they might be able to frustrate on the road.
The atmosphere at the Racecourse Ground could carry their heroes, however, and the home faithful have remained in full voice throughout, which is impressive considering their ground only has three sides, at present.
Those working on the new Kop arguably have the best view this afternoon.
45+7 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
McAtee plays a blind pass which Wrexham can scoop up, and although Basham goes for the tackle, the ball finds Mullin, who goes sprinting off threateningly. He's knocked at the last by Egan, just on the edge of the penalty area. Wrexham appeal for one heavily, but it's a yellow for Egan, and a freekick instead.
The ball smacks the wall, and leaps up in the air, and the whistle blows to a volley of boos from the home fans, who feel very hard done by indeed.
45+6 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
After a long, high ball, Mullin gets loose from Bogle on the right, sprinting unattached with a clear, dangerous look at goal. He fires at Davies, who makes the save, before appealing for a penalty after he believes Young is interfered with.
The referee waves play on, and it's Jebbison at the other end who has the next chance, but he's unsupported and Sheffield United falter.
45+3 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Wrexham win a throw just inside the Sheffield United half, but play it back, and are unseated by the visitors. Jebbison works the ball forward well, before setting up Osborn just inside the box. He's tracked closely by McAtee, but Wrexham douse their hopes of a second goal.
45 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Forde bullets the ball into the middle of the box, and it springs out for Young to pick up. Mullin goes down, claiming a foul from Ahmedhodzic, which falls on deaf ears. Norwood shoots the ball up the pitch, and Jebbison is primed and alert, beating the surprised Wrexham defence and needing some last-gasp heroics from Howard to keep him from a sharper attempt.
Seven minutes of added time.
44 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Basham collects the ball on the edge of box, before passing off to Bogle, who circles its edge before forcing a corner kick.
It's way overcooked, and flies past even a running McBurnie, who notices Doyle aiming past the far post.
42 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Palmer charges widthway across the pitch with force, before turning and attempting a shot on goal, which is blocked and falls back for Sheffield. When they take a run into the Wrexham half, he leads the pursuit, and pushes them off the ball to huge cheers from the home fans, impressed with first-half spirit if not score-line.
40 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Tozer sets up another long throw from the left, as the players mass in the penalty area. It can't make its way that far, as Sheffield players pin a winding Jones to the sideline, before the ball is bullied out of play.
37 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Bogle is pack on the pitch, nose stuffed up to staunch the blood flow.
The ball twists nicely from Palmer for Mullin just ahead of the six-yard box, and he attempts to poke the ball in, but the box is jammed with defenders. Wrexham have given Sheffield food for thought in attack, and should they find their equaliser, could be a much greater force.
35 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Forde picks up a ball on the right wing, and shuffles the ball into the box before it's smacked out wildly for another long throw-in, their first from the right. The referee steps in to chide Cleworth, grappling his marker in the pack.
The ball is sent out for another throw, then another, before Young accidentally deflects the ball behind the goal.
33 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
McFadzean muscles the ball up the left, before cutting to a running Mullin in the centre, who dances into the Sheffield half and has a not unpromising long-range shot.
31 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Play is suspended whilst Bogle is tended to, and Sheffield look close to managing their own unexpected substitution as he's walked to the sidelines for further treatment, and for play to restart.
29 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Lee is rolled and skittled by Doyle, for a Wrexham freekick that edges the players in red up the pitch. There's an opportunity for another long throw – Tozer briefly mopping the ball with a towel – and Palmer flicks it on, as standard. But Sheffield are prepared, and manage it well.
Bogle and Tozer tussle for the ball, and Bogle comes off the worse, nose dripping blood onto the turf.
27 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Forde tiptoes down the right, before cutting inside to feed Mullin, but as soon as the attack starts, Wrexham have lost the ball, and play skitters back into their half, with Sheffield on the run. Bogle concedes a freekick on the edge of the box, in the midst of another fracas.
25 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Norwood sends a looping cross-field pass, looking for Doyle, but he's swarmed by Wrexham defenders, and Sheffield are pushed back into their own half.
23 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Mullin remains a persistent problem for Sheffield, making mischief on the right, and pulling the rest of his team like kites behind him.
O'Connor takes the ensuing corner, which falls for a Sheffield head. McAtee is well-poised to run most of the pitch before he looks for back up, but it's too little, too late.
21 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Davies doesn't have to stretch much for the simple catch. Jebbison has an excellent spell, picking up a clever diagonal ball from McBurnie that sees him outstrip O'Connor and fire on goal. Howard leaps to make the block at the last.
Another corner that comes to naught, and the home side can get away.
19 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
McAtee picks up a cute leftwards pass, taking a shot on goal, but a well-timed block from Cleworth sends the ball flying out for a corner.
It's played short, straight in front, and McBurnie picks up on the ball on the edge of the box to try and slide through to McAtee. But Wrexham seize the opportunity to counter, and Sheffield are immediately under siege from Mullin on the right. He sends a whippy cross across the goal mouth, looking for Palmer, but a sliding block forces the next corner, this time for the home side.
17 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
McBurnie flies forward down the right wing, looking to pounce on a high straight ball, but O'Connor deals with him quickly and muscles the ball out for a Sheffield throw deep in the Wrexham half.
Coming again, Doyle streaks through the middle of the pack, before sneaking the ball through to Jebbison. He slaloms into the box, but is kept out by a sprinting Howard, who re-routes his run.
15 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Despite a litany of early troubles, Wrexham are looking pacey and optimistic, and Sheffield are scrambling defensively in the face of their feisty firepower.
Mullin pulls the ball down and twists past Basham, winning the ball and sweeping forward on the right to cross towards the box. He can't find the necessary support, which gives Sheffield ample time to regroup.
12 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Wrexham are denied what is most likely a penalty opportunity, due to the lack of Var at the Racecourse Ground, after Mullin on the run is clattered by Davies. Mullin gets to the ball first before he's toppled, but the referee waves play on.
No matter, as there's another of Tozer's long throws sent into the mix. It's leapt for by O'Connor well, and flicked to Mullin, who leaps and tangles himself up with Davies again.
10 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
That's Hayden's day over. He is replaced by Jones, forcing a change of shape for Wrexham early on.
Here's hoping that Reynolds has now hung up on his co-owner.
8 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Hayden heads for the sidelines, but after a few moments, he limps back on, not looking extremely comfortable. But he struggles on, for now.
Tozer winds up for an enormous long throw, with eyes on the Sheffield box, but they can't gain traction in clogged swirl of the penalty area, and are pushed back.
Oh dear. Hayen is down, again.
6 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Egan picks up a misplayed ball, and feeds Ahmedhodzic on the right. Wrexham, scrambling, manage to push them back, but Wrexham may be about to lose a second centre-back: Hayden is down, looking unhappy and stiff on the ground.
4 min: Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
Things drift from bad to worse for Wrexham after Tunnicliffe stays down, injured in the fracas after tumbling one of the sponsorship boards behind goal. He's helped the sidelines by the medics, and a substitute is readied.
On comes Cleworth, delaying a Sheffield throw.
GOAL!!! Wrexham 0 Sheffield United 1
A heavy deflection off Young yields an early corner for Sheffield, which Doyle steps up to take. The players dance around one-another before Doyle strikes the ball, curving outwards perfectly for McBurnie to bullet in and head the ball past Howard, who has no chance!
A lead in the first two minutes... a nightmare start for the home side.
A great start for the visitors! #BBCFACup #BBCFootball #FACup pic.twitter.com/kb0tLsJ0jU
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 29, 2023
Sheffield United have the first touch, and we're off to the races in North Wales.
16 home wins on the bounce is certainly not a record to be sniffed at, and a barnstorming win against Coventry will have confidence at an all-time high, but Sheffield will have to put several feet wrong not to walk away with a fifth-round spot.
The players steam out of the tunnel – we'll be underway in moments.
Atmosphere building at a sold-out Racecourse Ground
Paul Heckingbottom speaks to Match of the Day
Certainly it's a tough game but I think the occasion has a different feel to it – a big one for the round.
We're going to embrace that feeling and come away with a good result.
On the five changes made to the starting XI:
Obviously we've made changes but that's not taking anything away from this competition
It's good for us to rotate the squad [and we've been doing it in the league].
I don''t want anyone to think we're taking this game lightly.
Ryan Reynolds speaks to Match of the Day
It is, genuinely speaking, the greatest experience of my life, my own children and family notwithstanding.
This adventure has been unlike anything else [and] this project is going to be multi-decades.
We wanted to get involved in this particular hellacious sport – part plague, part obsession and part true passion [but] everything about it spoke to us: the history, the emotion, the story.
This club, when we arrived, was already perfect it just needed a little bit of help.
On support, home and away:
I love getting here early because I get to meet some of the locals and the supporters that have been coming here for decades and decades.
We sold 24,000 jerseys and so many of them went to Canada, you can't get them anymore – I can't get one!
On the ten-year plan:
The plan is now and has always been Premier League. If it's theoretically possible to do – why wouldn't we [try].
We want to go all the way and we believe we can do this.
Team news in full
Wrexham: Mark Howard (GK), Anthony Forde, Aaron Harden, Ben Tozer, Jordan Tunnicliffe, Callum McFadzean, Elliot Lee, Luke Young (c), Thomas O'Connor, Paul Mullin, Ollie Palmer
Substitutes: Lainton, Lennon, Cleworth, Hall-Johnson, Cannon, Jones, Bickerstaff, McAlinden, Dalby
Sheffield United: Adam Davies (GK), Anel Ahmedhodzic, John Egan (c), Chris Basham, Jayden Bogle, James McAtee, Oliver Norwood, Tommy Doyle, Ben Osborn, Daniel Jebbison, Oliver McBurnie
Substitutes: Foderingham, Sachdev, Robinson, Chieck Coulibaly, Lowe, Ndiaye, Sharp, Marsh
'Hollywood came to Wrexham – and now I can't get a ticket'
Dave, for instance, has been a Wrexham fan since his dad took him along as a 10-year-old to see Mickey Thomas score a wonder goal to beat the then league champions Arsenal in the Cup in 1992. And he says he has never, across his long experience of watching his hometown club, experienced demand like it.
“Four years ago I went to Havant and Waterlooville, away. There were 74 of us from Wrexham. No problem getting tickets then. Now? Crazy.”
He has a point. When tickets went on sale to club members for the game, they sold out in 25 minutes.
Jim White investigates the Wrexham phenomenon, nearly two years after their takeover. Read more here.
Ryan Reynolds is in the building
TEAM NEWS | Wrexham v Sheffield United
🔴 Our starting XI remains unchanged from our latest victory against Gateshead.
🔴⚪ #WxmAFC pic.twitter.com/N07nC3BlAp
— Wrexham AFC (@Wrexham_AFC) January 29, 2023
Five changes for United. 👊
Adam Davies starts in goal, whilst Oli McBurnie partners Daniel Jebbison in attack. Chris Basham, Ben Osborn and James McAtee are also all recalled.@EmiratesFACup || #SUFC 🔴 pic.twitter.com/KWR5ROAgOp
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) January 29, 2023
Wrexham prepare to do battle with another Championship big beast
Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of the FA Cup fourth-round tie between Wrexham and Sheffield United, kicking off at the Racecourse Ground at 4.30pm.
The twin lores of a Hollywood fairytale and the magic of the FA Cup collide as Wrexham prepare to face an opponent 70 places and three leagues above them, hot on the heels of their third-round, seven-goal thriller against Coventry which put today's fixture in the diary. Sheffield United are the highest-placed opposition that Wrexham have faced since the takeover of the club by Hollywood fixtures Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in early 2021, which has transformed the National League club's prospects and in the words of Telegraph Sport's Jim White, made Wrexham 'fashionable'.
But manager Phil Parkinson will not be crossing his fingers and waiting for the most film-friendly narrative to unravel, but instead be looking to field a team 'prepared to ruffle a few feathers all over the pitch'.
"We're looking to give Sheffield United as many problems as we can while respecting what they're all about as a team.
"But we're certainly not going into the game to sit off them and give them an easy afternoon.
"We'll set ourselves up to make it as difficult as possible for Sheffield United."
Narrowly missing out on promotion at the end of last season, Wrexham go into today's match three points clear at the top of the National League, and Parkinson sees an vigourous cup run as a 'bonus'.
"[It's] a welcome distraction from the league and a mental break from that. We go in with absolutely nothing to lose. We just want to represent ourselves well on the day. It's going to be an absolutely cracking atmosphere."
Sheffield United too have an eye on promotion, sitting five points behind first-place Burnley in the Championship, and are enjoying a fine run of form that has seen them without a loss in all competitions since November 8.
We should be in for a whip-cracking afternoon; stay tuned for team news, build-up, and interviews ahead of kick-off in just under an hour.