Alan Biggs: Comeback could change Sheffield United’s season

Billy Sharp of Sheffield Utd celebrates scoring the second goal
Billy Sharp of Sheffield Utd celebrates scoring the second goal
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Reporting another match on Tuesday night and hearing that Sheffield United were trailing 3-0 at Wigan, there was a momentary dread of how to fill this space.

A fear of having to kick a club while it was down in the wake of a proud, cruel and ultimately undeserved late penalty defeat at Manchester United in the FA Cup.

What happened after that not only changed the whole complexion of this column but, more importantly, could transform the rest of the Blades’ season.

Holding on for 90 minutes at Old Trafford was never going to do that, not really.

Football is full of so-nearly stories, giving them a lifespan of days rather than years. Sheffield United needed something more permanent as a grasp on what can still be achieved. Even without being there, you sense that at Wigan they found it.

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To be on the end of such a potentially devastating scoreline just three days after the gut-wrenching near-heroics at the biggest club stadium in the country must be as low as a footballer can get.

So, as one who has openly questioned the character in the Blades’ squad, I gladly take my hat off (and hope later to eat it) after the comeback for a 3-3 draw in midweek. That takes something beyond footballing ability and the hope must be that it has infused a quality even more sorely lacking – belief.

Away to second bottom Colchester on Saturday is one of those awful fixtures that too often brings terrible self-doubt.

Time to brush that aside. What to look at instead is that the Blades are only three points outside the top six and, of more relevance to a team hardly enamoured with the play-offs, 13 points behind second placed Gillingham with a game in hand.

Defeat this weekend and you can practically forget it. Win and it’s still within bounds. That has to be the mind set given that there should now be the confidence to go with it.

Delighted by the way to see Matt Done score twice in the Wigan fight back. This is the one player United have with the pace to get beyond defenders.

For me, he should have been on much earlier than the closing stages at Old Trafford as an outlet to attack. But another questionable call, the withdrawal of an injury-carrying but plainly dissenting Billy Sharp, was proved correct in view of his scoring role in the midweek revival.

And I think Nigel Adkins is in tune with what’s required. Clearly, he’s enjoying testing himself. Hopefully his players are catching that mood.

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