Warnock relishes meeting Chelsea after defeat in Carling Cup

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Neil Warnock has backed his beleaguered Sheffield United side to bounce back from Carling Cup humiliation in the best possible way - by beating the Premiership champions, Chelsea, at Bramall Lane.

Warnock is still relishing the prospect of squaring up to Jose Mourinho's men on Saturday despite sitting through his second string's painful 4-2 defeat to Birmingham on Tuesday night.

And he has revealed how he fired an early warning shot to Mourinho of what to expect from the Blades after the Chelsea manager had congratulated him on promotion to the Premiership in May. Warnock said: "I did write to Jose in the summer when he congratulated me and I said that ours might be the only two games he loses this year, and who knows.

"It will be great looking at £50m or £60m-worth of strikers, while Claude Davis is our Rolls-Royce at £2.5m. But it is 11 against 11 and it is going to be such a different atmosphere."

Warnock changed his entire team for the midweek visit of Steve Bruce's men and is set to bring back all his big guns - including Davis, who sat out last night's defeat through suspension. Warnock said: "It is all about Saturday now. We have just got to brush up on a few bits and bobs and we just need one or two players to hit a bit of form in front of goal."

Bruce has switched attention towards his side's big weekend derby with West Bromwich after finding the pressure on his shoulders significantly eased by the Blues' second consecutive win. Bruce is convinced victory over Tony Mowbray's buoyant Baggies will boost his side's promotion attempt and singled out the loan star Nicklas Bendter for playing a crucial role in their challenge.

Bruce said: "Nicklas is only 18 years old and you can see what a great talent he is. When he gets the chance I know he will take it and that is what makes him a top player.

"Nicklas is only going to get better. He is still learning his trade and he has got a long way to go to play for Arsenal, but you can certainly see what great talent he has got."

Bruce has some injury concerns heading into the Albion game with Cameron Jerome expected to recover from a bad cough but Dudley Campbell a bigger doubt after twisting his ankle against the Blades.

* This season's Carling Cup final will be staged at the Millennium Stadium on 25 February. A Football League spokesman said: "The stadium has provided a terrific home for the final in each of the last six seasons and we look forward to taking this match to Cardiff once again." The Millennium Stadium chief executive, Paul Sergeant, said: "The Carling Cup has been a fantastic event for the last six seasons and we hope this season's will make up a magnificent seven."