He could have been a Blade a decade ago but after finally checking in at Bramall Lane, loan defender Alex Baptiste remains adamant that Sheffield United’s season is far from over.
The 30-year-old, who arrived in South Yorkshire from Championship side Middlesbrough on Tuesday, made the admission after making his full debut against League One leaders Burton Albion in midweek.
United slipped to 12th in the table after a 1-0 defeat, courtesy of Lucas Akins’ second-half strike. But they remain only four points off the top six and, ahead of this weekend’s trip to Fleetwood Town, Baptiste said: “It was a disappointing result, especially in front of this crowd. But we’ve got to put it behind us because we’ve got a big game coming up.
“Look at the table; if you win two on the bounce you are in there. Three, four or five, then higher than that. It’s still all to play for.
“We have to remember that. I’m grateful to Sheffield United for giving me a chance to play and hopefully I can repay them for that.”
Baptiste first registered on United’s radar during his time at Mansfield, when Neil Warnock was in charge at Bramall Lane. Instead, Baptiste moved to Blackpool and played a key part in their promotion to the Premier League.
“Neil came in for me here when I was at Mansfield,” the defender remembers.
“It was the January window I think but Mansfield, so far as I can remember, had already rejected the offer a little time before that so it didn’t happen.
“I’m here now though so it’s been a long time happening.”
Burton boss Nigel Clough, meanwhile, insisted that Tuesday evening’s victory didn’t feel any sweeter because it came at Bramall Lane.
Clough led United to two major cup semi-finals before he was sacked at the end of last season, after their play-off semi-final defeat to Swindon.
And the former England international said: “No, it doesn’t feel any better because it’s at Bramall Lane... it’s only three points.
“We had some very happy times here [at United], some really memorable nights here in the cups and it’s great for Burton fans to come here and get a result at a stadium like this.
“It was the complete away performance in lots of ways. Everybody did their job. Everything worked tonight.
“It’s a beautiful pitch now and I think the lads enjoyed playing on it. Good players don’t give fouls away and we don’t like giving away free-kicks. We were disappointed to come in at 0-0 at half time.
“We felt we might have missed an opportunity because they would be attacking The Kop and we know what the crowd can be like here.
“We told the lads before, this would be a big night. These lads aren’t fazed by the big occasions.
“You’ve got to relish them and look forward to them.”