Baptiste hoping history repeats itself as Blades push for the play-offs

Alex Baptiste has been excellent since signing on loan from Middlesbrough

Alex Baptiste has been excellent since signing on loan from Middlesbrough

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Alex Baptiste, Sheffield United’s on-loan defender, is hoping history will repeat itself as Nigel Adkins’ side begin their quest to gatecrash the League One play-off places.

United face top-six rivals Barnsley at Bramall Lane this afternoon and victory over Paul Heckingbottom’s men could put them back in the promotion picture.

And Middlesbrough defender Baptiste, who enjoyed a similar against-all-odds success story with Blackpool when they reached the Premier League in 2010, said: “We were about tenth and went on an unbelievable run and won nine out of 11.

“We were miles behind and came up on the rails and nicked the last place on the last day and the rest is history. We got promoted.

“I think going into the play-offs, if you can do it that way, it’s the best way. Teams fighting for promotion who finish third could have that heartache of not going up automatic and it’s a lottery in the play-offs.”

Heckingbottom’s Reds - arguably the success story of the season, after recovering from being bottom of the table to lift the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy - are level on points with sixth-placed Gillingham, with United four points behind.

“This is a tough game and Barnsley are a really good team and up there for a reason,” Baptiste, who suffered a broken leg on his Middlesbrough debut in a pre-season friendly at York, added.

“We know it is going to be blood and thunder; it’s a local derby and we must give them the respect they deserve, but make sure we are flying out of the blocks. If we get the three points, then you never know where it can take us.

“It is just good to be playing football again after being out for such a long time.

“United is a fantastic club - the set-up is like a Championship club - and I am just doing my bit for the team and the community.

“Hopefully, we can get the club back to where it deserves to be.”

United’s U21s, meanwhile, lost 2-0 to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough yesterday.

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