Harley boost for Blades
By Paul Higham. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
SHEFFIELD UNITED have finally been given permission to play Jon Harley in their crunch Worthington Cup tie with Sunderland, where former Sheffield Wednesday boss Howard Wilkinson is expecting a hot reception.
After disposing of Yorkshire rivals Leeds in dramatic style in the pervious round, Neil Warnock's Blades are now looking to keep up their impressive home form by dumping The Black Cats out of the competition.
With Steve Kabba and Dean Windass both unavailable for the fixture, Warnock was determined to have Jon Harley for the game, and he has finally got permission from Fulham to play the left back.
"After making several attempts and numerous phone calls, I've managed to persuade Fulham to give permission for Jon to be available," said Warnock.
"We are delighted Jon can play and must place on record we are very grateful to Jean Tigana and all at Fulham."
Sheffield-born Wilkinson is guaranteed a hot reception at Bramall Lane due to his Hillsborough ties, but he is unbeaten at the ground and is hoping to keep that run going.
"I was brought up in the centre of Sheffield, roughly halfway between the two clubs so you can guess how excited I am by the game," said Wilkinson.
"I've been to United five times and luckily I have come out unscathed. But they are on a good run and I know they will be flying.
"They will make it very tough for us, especially with the atmosphere they have there."
Warnock, a lifelong Blades fan, is also looking forward to the game and with both Kabba and Windass cup-tied, said he was happy with the depth of his squad.
"It will be nice to play my reserves against Sunderland," joked the Blades boss.
"I've never had this many strikers before. To be honest, at most clubs I've been at, I've never even had one."
Without Kabba and Windass, Warnock still has Carl Asaba, Wayne Allison and Paul Peschisolido to chose from up front.