WHEN footballers talk of the crowd being their team’s “12th man” it is usually dismissed as a tired old soundbite.
But like all the best cliches, this one contains an element of truth, Michael Doyle believes
And, having described the contribution made by supporters during Sheffield United’s climb to the top of the League One table as “immense”, the midfielder has admitted they feature will feature prominently in the South Yorkshire club’s game plan against Huddersfield Town.
“I know people usually laugh then they hear us coming-out with that stuff,” Doyle said. “But, trust me, in our case it really is something to be taken seriously.
“I don’t care what anyone says - you do hear what’s coming off the terraces, especially at the smaller grounds - and it’s spurred us on.
“When you walk out of the tunnel and see the turnout it gives you a lift.”
With groups of Town fans boycotting tonight’s match in protest at what they claim are exorbitant tickets prices - an argument United officials insist contains more holes than one of Onslow’s socks - Doyle’s revelation is especially timely.
Fears that last season’s relegation from the Championship would cast a shadow over the new campaign have so far proved unfounded but Danny
Wilson, who has won seven and drawn two of his 10 outings at the helm since taking charge, is acutely aware that Lee Clark’s side will be the most dangerous opponents to visit Bramall Lane this term.
With the likes of Ian Bennett and Alan Lee on their roster, Town believe they can be equals on the pitch.
Off it, though, they face being out-shouted and sung unless black-legging suddenly becomes the fashion in Kirklees.
“One of the things that has really struck me of late is the feeling of togetherness we’ve got here,” Doyle, who joined United in January, said. “How everyone, and I include the supporters when I say this, is pulling in the same direction and trying to help each other out.
“Don’t get me wrong, results always help but it seems as if there’s more to it than that.
That sense of common purpose enabled United to bury their Glanford Park hoodoo by claiming a first ever point at Scunthorpe’s stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Huddersfield climbed to fifth courtesy of a routine victory over Tranmere Rovers.
“Our crowd can have a huge role to play,” Doyle said.