Altay Bayindir and Tom Heaton

Keepers: We need to respect Coventry

Saturday 20 April 2024 09:00

Altay Bayindir and Tom Heaton are likely to have a watching brief for Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup semi-final against Coventry City at Wembley.

Andre Onana has been the man in goal for United in all but one of our fixtures this season, with Bayindir stepping in for the Cameroon international at Newport County in January, when he was away on Africa Cup of Nations duty.

The goalkeeping pair will be at the national stadium regardless, ready to be called upon if required, and neither is taking our Sky Blues task lightly.

Bayindir knows full well the dangers an EFL side can pose in the FA Cup, from our 4-2 victory in South Wales in the fourth round.

The Exiles gave us a brief scare, pulling the tie back level after we’d raced into an early two-goal lead, only for Antony and Rasmus Hojlund to eventually score and nip a potential shock in the bud.

How to watch and follow United's FA Cup semi-final


Here's all the essential info for Sunday's last-four clash with Coventry City at Wembley.

“Every game is strong. Everyone is working hard every day and it’s high level,” he told us recently, when recalling that fixture.

“It doesn’t matter, first league, Championship, second league, other league… it doesn’t matter. Everyone is strong and everyone wants to win.

“If they’re playing against Manchester United, it’s a big thing and everyone wants to show themselves.

“We know everyone wants to show themselves, everyone wants to fight and we need to be focused for every game.”

It’s a mindset that the hugely experienced Heaton shares, having watched Coventry’s quarter-final success over Wolves, in a game every bit as thrilling as our own last-eight victory, against Liverpool.

“You’re fighting for a place in the final, again to be held at Wembley, so I think yeah, we know Coventry will be a tough test,” he said.

“I watched them in the game against Wolves and I think they played really, really well. Wolves have been an excellent side this season and I thought Coventry were good for the win, really.

“They played some really nice stuff and they’re going well in the Championship, so we’ll need to give them the respect, as we do all opponents.”

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There’s an added narrative to this year’s semi-final, as Coventry are managed by Mark Robins, the former Red who was a pivotal figure in our 1990 FA Cup triumph.

Heaton, who came through the Academy at United, is well aware of Robins’s history here, but believes that thread won’t have a bearing on what happens on the pitch on Sunday.

“I think, as players, you try and avoid those storylines, to be honest.

“For everyone around it, for the football club and him, I totally get it. It’s a really fascinating thread of a story, but for us, I think we need to take the emotion out of it and really be focused on what the requirements are, what the day requires and what we need to do.”

Coventry v United kicks off from Wembley at 15:30 BST on Sunday 21 April.