·20 March 2023
·20 March 2023
Manchester City are to be approached by Sheffield United over granting Tommy Doyle and James McAtee permission to play in next month’s FA Cup semi-final.
The reigning Premier League champions secured their place in the penultimate stage of the FA Cup with a convincing 6-0 victory over Vincent Kompany’s Burnley on Saturday afternoon – the Belgian coach’s first return to the Etihad Stadium as a football manager.
An Erling Haaland hat-trick was accompanied by a brace from his striking partner Julian Alvarez, while a further strike from Cole Palmer wrapped up a brilliant afternoon against an impressive and courageous Burnley set-up.
That victory has set up a final-four clash against Sheffield United, who overcame Blackburn Rovers 24 hours later courtesy of a 90th minute long-range goal from Tommy Doyle at Bramall Lane.
However, due to competition rules on the matter, both Doyle and James McAtee will be ineligible to play against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley next month as they are on loan from east Manchester.
Speaking after the Blades’ dramatic 3-2 quarter-final victory against Blackburn on Sunday afternoon, manager Paul Heckingbottom indicated that the club would sit down and hold talks over the eligibility of Doyle and McAtee at Wembley.
“First and foremost, we’ll have the conversation,” said Heckingbottom. “Listen, they’re Manchester City players and we know they’re cup-tied. But for those two players, I think I need to ask the question and see if we can somehow get them involved.
“I understand the situation, and they (Tommy Doyle and James McAtee) do too. When we watched the draw after the game, it was the one we didn’t want. Mainly for that reason. We all know how tough it is playing City at the best of times but for those boys, we wanted them involved in this one.
Heckingbottom continued while speaking to talkSPORT, “Because they’ve been a big part of what we’ve done, in the league and the cup. It’s not the draw we wanted for those boys, and it’s not the one those boys wanted themselves.
“Everyone knows the benefits of them playing (at Wembley). It’s the reason they’ve been sent out on loan and I know (Manchester City) are really pleased with their progression. The boys are themselves, their families and their representatives.
“They’re pleased with what they’re doing and it would be an amazing part of that journey from them. To continue their education. However, it’s against their parent club. It has been done before; we’ve seen it happen before. We’ll ask the question and we’ll see what comes back.”
Unfortunately for Paul Heckingbottom, Sheffield United, and the Manchester City duo, the stance from the Etihad Stadium may be completely irrelevant given the Football Association’s ruling on the matter.
Emirates FA Cup competition rules specifically state that, “The Association will not give permission for players on loan or work experience to play against the lending club.”
Manchester City and Sheffield United’s FA Cup semi-final showdown is due to be played at Wembley Stadium across the weekend of Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April 2023, while Pep Guardiola and his players will see a Premier League fixture postponed in the process.
City were originally due to travel to face Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League that weekend, but that fixture will have to be rearranged due to both teams’ involvement in the last-four of the FA Cup.
Brighton will take on Manchester United in the other semi-final tie on the same weekend.
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