Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom highlights danger of Harry Kane threat
Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom highlighted the danger of “real threat” Harry Kane as his side prepare for an FA Cup last-16 clash with Tottenham.
The Blades manager is under no illusions about the size of the task they face as they welcome a side currently occupying a Champions League spot in the Premier League.
The Championship side disposed National League Wrexham in the last round after coming through a replay, but now play the underdog role as they face a visit from one the English top-flight’s ‘big six’.
The United boss knows Spurs’ all-time leading goalscorer Kane needs very few chances, and drew comparisons to Gareth Bale’s hat-trick against the Blades in a 4-0 win a couple of seasons ago.
He told a press conference: “The only way you guarantee it (to stop Kane), is not let him within 40 yards of your goal.
“He scores all types of goals, they are a real threat from set-plays and he has benefitted a lot from that as well.
“We know he needs very few chances and one thing we can try to do is limit those, but it’s like Gareth Bale when he had very few moments but every one he tucked away.
“We need a night where we perform at our best and one or two of the Spurs lads are not quite at their best – but we need to try to make that happen.”
Tottenham come into the game in decent form having won four of their last five league matches and have yet to concede in the FA Cup so far, in their two wins over lower-league opposition, Portsmouth and Preston.
However, Sheffield United are looking to reach the quarter-final stage of the tournament for the third time in the last four seasons.
Despite highlighting the danger of Kane, Heckingbottom was quick to acknowledge the plethora of talent that Antonio Conte’s side have in their ranks.
He continued: “We have to look at their key threats and how they supply Harry (Kane).
“It’s not just about sitting in and denying the space, ultimately, I’d be bored stiff on the sideline if that was our approach and we would not do it.
“It’s a good game to be involved in because of the calibre of player we are up against – we have got a massive obstacle in front of us which is Spurs, their players and we know we have to be at our best.”
Tottenham last lifted a trophy 15 years ago when they won the League Cup in 2008 and there is a growing expectation from the fans, for the club to taste silverware again.
Several big Premier League sides including Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea have already exited the competition, leaving Spurs among one of the favourites to lift the trophy.
Heckingbottom is alerted to the fact that Wednesday night’s opponents may give everything in this competition but wants his side to “enjoy” the 90 minutes.
He added: “The league is different from the cup and we know it’s different so let’s go and enjoy it.
“What’s the worse that can happen? We get beat?
“We want to try and take the ball from them, try and play and what have we got to lose? We’ve got to try and win it.”
Heckingbottom will make a last-minute decision on his starting line-up due to a spreading illness in the playing squad.
Centre-back Ciaran Clark was not included in the squad last time out and may miss out once again.