SHEFFIELD UNITED: Blades look ahead

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FIVE goals, four different scorers and three precious points gained.

Not bad, as those Sheffield United supporters who watched their team demolish Rochdale on Tuesday chanted, for a one-man team.

But Danny Wilson, who prefers his players to do their talking on the pitch rather than the back pages of a newspaper, knows that midweek success at Spotland will count for little when Leyton Orient come calling tomorrow.

The United manager, who understands only too well how quickly fortunes can change in League One competition, last night admitted United must prove themselves all over again in order to guarantee they remain in the box seat to clinch automatic promotion.

“Now we move on to the next match,” Wilson said. “We’ve got to look forward rather than back because Orient will be fighting for their lives.”

Wilson, who expects to name striker Ched Evans and midfielder Lee Williamson in his starting 11 despite substituting both during the triumph over John Coleman’s side, acknowledged recently that, with Huddersfield Town falling off the pace, United are now embroiled in a two-way fight with arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday for the runners-up spot.

United have been in spectacular form of late - winning all of their previous five games and netting 17 goals in the process.

With Evans taking his tally for the season to 34 with a brace against Rochdale, Wilson’s confidence in his own charges’ ability to come out on top in this neighbourly dispute is not misplaced.

But a resurgent Wednesday, who briefly dislodged United from second spot when they beat Oldham Athletic on Monday, are formidable foes, having failed to lose any of their nine outings under new manager Dave Jones.

On paper, United, averaging 2.29 points per game at home since August, are odds-on favourites to beat opponents with figures of 1.24 away.

But, as events at the Matchroom Stadium six months ago proved, the margins for error in this most unpredictable of divisions are wafer thin. Despite being reduced to 10 men when Charlie Daniels was sent off for a foul on Williamson, Russell Slade’s team snatched a share of the spoils in added time.

Former Wednesday loanee Jimmy Smith, who missed October’s contest in the capital, is unavailable for selection again due to a fractured cheekbone.

With only three matches remaining following the Orient clash, United know even the slightest slip could carry a heavy price.

“We should enjoy this situation,” said Wilson. “We’d rather be in our position than Rochdale’s.”