Clough raps FA for moving QPR game to Sunday

Nigel Clough
Nigel Clough

Nigel Clough has slammed the FA’s decision to move Sheffield United’s FA Cup third-round tie against Queens Park Rangers, claiming it betrays the competition’s proud tradition.

United will face Rangers at Loftus Road on Sunday at 1pm, after the Premier League team received special dispensation from the FA because of their New Year’s Day game at home to Swansea City.

“We don’t agree with it and we’re not happy about it,” the United boss said.

“First and foremost for the fans, who have a long enough trip as it is without kick off times and days being moved.

“Premier League sides have 25-man squads and lots of money, and they will probably rotate their squad from the Swansea game anyway so the players will be fresh.

“I think the term used by the authorities was ‘special dispensation’ and it’s the same for all the clubs. But they agreed to stage fixtures on New Years Day so it’s hardly a surprise for them to play two days later.

“It’s FA Cup third round day and it really should be played on a Saturday at 3pm.”

Clough, whose side travel to London sixth in the League One standings and 14 points behind second-placed Swindon Town, revealed yesterday that Craig Alcock is back in training after a back injury while Ryan Flynn, who impressed at right back in Alcock’s absence, is also close to regaining full fitness.

James Wallace is also back, but is unlikely to be risked against Harry Redknapp’s side.

Clough also revealed his disappointment after Chris O’Grady was recalled by Brighton and Hove Albion earlier this week.

O’Grady came on as a substitute as his parent club beat Fulham on Monday, and Clough revealed: “We were disappointed but we can understand that Chris [Hughton, Albion’s new manager] wants to have a look at him.

“When we signed him, the intention was for Albion to leave him with us for the rest of the season but we have a couple of other options, one on loan and one permanent. But we’ll get Chris back if we can.”