Chris Wilder has warned Sheffield United’s squad players to be on red alert as his side’s title push prepares to enter a crucial period.
United, who enjoyed a rare weekend off because of Coventry’s involvement in the Checkatrade Trophy final at Wembley, return to action tomorrow night against the Sky Blues at Bramall Lane.
Victory over Mark Robins’ men, combined with a Fleetwood defeat to Oxford, would confirm United’s promotion to the Championship and, with a 13-point gap buffer between them and Uwe Rösler’s side in third, they certainly appear to be all but there.
After tomorrow night, United travel to Northampton Town - who Wilder led to the League Two title last term - on Saturday before an Easter weekend double header away at Port Vale (Good Friday) and at home to Bradford City (Easter Monday).
And Wilder, who has ruled Caolan Lavery out for the rest of the season, admitted: “On the whole, we’re healthy.
“We’ve got Leon Clarke back, Stefan Scougall and Marc McNulty are back and they’re all at it.
“I’ve said to them that they must all be ready to play a part, with us playing Wednesday, Saturday and then Friday and Monday.
“So there’s four games in quick succession with no real breaks inbetween, so we’ll utilise everyone.
“They have to be ready for that, it looks to me like they are and so that’s pleasing.”
McNulty has played just 63 minutes of first-team football for United since his loan spell at Bradford was ended early, while fellow Scot Scougall has seen his opportunities limited by the arrival of Jay O’Shea and the commanding displays of Mark Duffy.
Skipper Billy Sharp has played 43 games this term, although his 26 goals mean he is virtually assured of a place on Wilder’s starting teamsheet.
James Hanson is almost certain to start alongside him, too, after Sharp endorsed Wilder’s description of him as the best target man in League One.
“The gaffer called him that and I think he’s right,” Sharp said.
“James is great, and he’s shown he can score goals at this level. He’s been in this division a few years and done well. He has settled really well and is a good lad.”
Meanwhile, Jake Bennett, David Brooks and Jordan Hallam sealed a 3-0 Professional Development League victory for United’s U23s at Crystal Palace yesterday.