Sheridan rues old boy return

JOHN SHERIDAN had few regrets during a distinguished playing career which included representing the Republic of Ireland at both the 1990 and 1994 World Cups.

Yet the Oldham Athletic manager was left to reflect on what might have been on Saturday night after a striker he chose not to sign came back to haunt him and deny his club a place in the last 16 of the FA Cup.

After struggling to force his way into Neil Warnock’s plans at Sheffield United, Luke Beckett joined Oldham on loan towards the end of the 2004-05 season.

He impressed so much that then manager Ronnie Moore signed him on loan for the whole of the following season, with Beckett scoring 18 goals in 34 league games.

However, Beckett ended up joining Huddersfield on a free transfer when Sheridan decided against pursuing him permanently after replacing Moore at Boundary Park in June 2006.

It was a decision which Sheridan was left to rue as Beckett’s 10th-minute header ensured Huddersfield reached the fifth round for the first time in nine years.

The 31-year-old striker admitted afterwards he could easily have been lining up for Oldham, instead of against them, had things turned out differently 18 months ago.

“Sheffield United wanted money for me at the time and I think John Sheridan thought he could bring in two or three players for what he would be paying,” said Beckett.

“Sheridan took over and wanted to go in another direction. He made it public that he was not that interested so I moved on to Huddersfield. But I’ve no animosity towards him. It’s tight budgets down in the league.”

Having fought back from 2-0 down at Accrington Stanley in the first round, Huddersfield find themselves alongside Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea in today’s draw.

“You never know, it could be the team’s year or my year,” added Beckett.

“Hopefully we can get through the next round. We’ve already beaten Birmingham.”

Oldham were the story of the third round after defeating Everton at Goodison Park but have failed to score in their last three games and badly missed eight-goal striker Lee Hughes, who was suspended.

“I don’t know if we would have won with Lee Hughes, but I think we’d have had more chance,” admitted Sheridan.

OLDHAM (4-4-2): Crossley 6, Eardley 6, Trotman 6, Stam 7, Hazell 6, Allott 6, Kalala 6 (Wolfenden 76, 4), McDonald 6, Taylor 7, Smalley 6, Davies 6.

Subs Not Used: Pogliacomi, Black, Lomax, Alessandra.

HUDDERSFIELD (4-4-2): Glennon 7, Sinclair 6, Page 9, Clarke 6, Williams 6, Collins 6, Holdsworth 7, Worthington 6, Schofield 6, Beckett 8 (Mirfin 89, 4), Jevons 7 (Kamara 83, 4).

Subs Not Used: Smithies, Racchi, Berrett.

REFEREE: Graham Laws (Tyne & Wear) 6: It required a strong referee to take charge of this bruising Roses battle and Laws ensured the encounter passed off without major incident.

MATCH RATING: *** This was never going to be a cup classic with so much at stake for two cash-strapped clubs. Plenty of effort but little quality.

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