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Wrexham v Sheffield United: Match Preview

Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson reckons his team’s FA Cup clash at home to Sheffield United on Sunday is just like a nice relaxing day off.

The rest of the world – or at least North Wales – may be in a state of high excitement at the prospect of the club being in the fourth round for the first time in two decades, but Parkin has told his National League leaders to relax and enjoy the fun.

While Wrexham fans dream of more FA Cup heroics from a club that famously once knocked Arsenal out of the competition at the Racecourse Ground, Parkin is much more concerned with guiding the club back into the Football League by winning automatic promotion.

“We spoke to the lads about the importance of the league and now we’ve done the work in the league the lads can go out and enjoy Sunday”, said Parkinson.

“It is an occasion but it’s a process. How we go about the job on the day has to be the focus for us. The Cup is a bonus for us.

“It’s a welcome distraction and a mental break from the league. But we want to represent ourselves well and put in a performance that mirrors our performances in the league – if we do that we’ll be pleased.”

Wrexham have reached the fourth round for the first time since 1997 and face the in-form Blades on the back of a 22-game unbeaten run.

The Dragons saw off fellow non-league sides Blyth Spartans, Oldham Athletic and Farnborough to reach the third round, before overcoming Championship side Coventry City.

Now, they face another Championship side, but one gunning for automatic promotion themselves – but in the Blades’ case, to the Premier League.

Wrexham may have won all their home games so far this season, but they will still be big underdogs against Paul Heckingbottom’s men.

“In the league everybody plays the underdog card against us, both home and away, and try to make it as difficult as possible for us with the game-plans they set up,” Parkinson added.

“So it was great to go to Coventry with nothing to lose and everything to gain and it’s the same this weekend.”

Parkinson also accepts that if his team are to beat the club occupying second place in the Championship then they will need 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 believe that if we are at our best, we’re going to give Sheffield United a very good game.

“It’s not just about turning up, it’s about implementing a game-plan and the players and the lads on the bench understanding that and sticking to it.”

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