Another pop at the coach driver. It must be Sheff United (a)
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Daniel Farke and Chris Wilder might be coming round to the same way of thinking over the Norwich City coach driver.
The Sheffield United boss was less than impressed the Canaries were delayed on a previous Bramall Lane league visit.
Wilder dug out the visiting bus driver for what he labelled poor timekeeping in a spicy Championship affair in 2017 edged by City. Farke joked yesterday the after effects of an epic FA Cup win at Tottenham were his biggest concern following a nightmare return journey home.
"We have this experience from the Championship of handling quick turnarounds.
"If I'm honest I'm not so concerned about the workload. The biggest problem was the travel," he said. "I love our coach driver but if you wanted to find all the closures in western Europe he is the guy to go for.
"We found two or three on the drive home on Wednesday, got back around 3:30am, and the players didn't sleep before 4am. That is the biggest issue for us. "Our fitness level is outstanding. The midfielder with the biggest load (at Tottenham) was Tom Trybull, who played 88 minutes. The rest maybe no more than 70 minutes each. Not a problem.
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"For the back four it is perhaps a bit different but they are young lads.
"I would even include Grant Hanley in that. Two days in the ice bath and they are ready to go. Up front, Ondrej Duda and Teemu Pukki were not involved.
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"We have had to calm down the nerves but the training has not been that intense."
Farke insists there are far more upsides from a landmark FA Cup win as they strive to stay in the Premier League next season alongside the soaring Blades.
"We are realistic. We know where we're coming from and we know we are still bottom with a long road ahead in order to make sure we earn the right to play again next season in the Premier League," he said.
"I don't want to stop this the feelgood factor, if I'm honest, because we have had to handle disappointments during the season. Sheffield United is a difficult task so we need to take this confidence with us.
"I'm full of respect for what Sheffield have done.
"Chris has done an outstanding job for a promoted club. But we are different clubs. Look at what both did in the transfer market after getting promoted. You can't compare it.
"Over the last two windows I think Sheffield was able to spend maybe close to £70m and in our last two windows we have spent less than £1.7m.
"That doesn't take anything away from the incredible job they have done, or what Chris has done, to build on a side who were unbelievably solid, defensively, last season.
"I'm not jealous but you have to say more or less all his defensive players have been available this season. That allows him to stick to the same back three, plus holding midfielder, plus the wing backs.
"They are used to playing with each other. Then they were able to add some quality players."
Farke admits there is no chance of any surprises for either team.
"Chris probably knows our squad better than any other coach on this level," he said. "Each game has been so close. We have had draws, a single goal win for them, a single goal win for us, away wins for both sides.
"It's always an unbelievably difficult game, a special game. I'm pretty sure that Chris and his side will be unbelievably respectful."