Jose Baxter has urged his Sheffield United team mates not to write-off their promotion chances ahead of tonight’s League One fixture with Peterborough, writes James Shield.
Despite acknowledging the odds are stacked against Nigel Clough’s side - they enter the match 11 points behind the visitors from London Road - Baxter warned it would be a mistake to ignore United’s claims after a run of five straight wins catapulted them out of the relegation zone and into mid-table.
“I still think we’ve got a lot to offer,” the former Everton midfielder said. “I think we can continue this for a lot longer.
“If we don’t get into the play-offs this year then we can definitely do it the next. The manager is realistic and he won’t let anyone get complacent or carried away.
“We are like that in the squad too. But stranger things have happened and you’ve only got to look at Bournemouth last season, who were right down at the bottom to begin with and then went-up, to see that.”
“We were miles behind at one stage and, although our main aim is to make sure we stay in the division after the start we had, if there’s a chance then we’ve got to try and take it.”
Peterborough, who occupy the fourth and final play-off berth, travel to South Yorkshire searching for their first ever victory at Bramall Lane but having lost just once away from home since January 25. United, meanwhile, are hoping to record an eighth consecutive victory in all competitions after reaching the FA Cup quarter-finals where they host Charlton Athletic this weekend.
Baxter, who described this evening’s contest as “more important” than Sunday’s tie, insisted Clough’s appointment five months ago had been the catalyst for United’s improved results following a wretched start to the campaign which saw them lose 10 of their opening 14 outings.
“He’s made me a better player and a lot of the other lads, like Conor (Coady) for example, will tell you the same,” Baxter said. “He’s got a great knowledge and has an immediate respect because of what he has achieved in the game.
“I believe in the squad and I believe in the manager.”