Sheffield United: Brayford is bullish about the future

John Brayford is expected to feature against Peterborough tomorrow night � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
John Brayford is expected to feature against Peterborough tomorrow night � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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There were thrills, spills and contentious decisions aplenty, writes James Shield.

Seventy-two hours after coming mighty close to claiming a second top-flight scalp of the season, Nigel Clough’s side resume their battle for survival with a game against opponents making an impression at the other end of League One.

United’s exploits in the world’s oldest domestic knockout competition - where Aston Villa were accounted for in the previous round - have inevitably prompted questions about how players capable of troubling some of England’s finest talent find themselves in grave danger towards the foot of the third tier.

Brayford, who joined on loan four days ago, does not profess to the have answers. But, he told The Star, United are destined to start climbing the table if they can replicate their performance against Rene Meulensteen’s team.

“I thought the lads put in a real shift,” Brayford said. “There was so much going on out there I suppose you could call that a bit of a baptism of fire because it was my debut for the club.

“We showed a lot of really good things against some high quality footballers. I’ve not been here long but long enough to be impressed by the ability and capabilities here.”

Brayford, scheduled to spend the rest of the season with United after leaving Cardiff City earlier this month, is expected to feature in the starting eleven which faces Peterborough having impressed during Sunday’s draw with a Fulham squad containing £18m worth of talent and 622 international caps.

Clough, whose charges enter the contest a place and a point from safety, could also hand Bob Harris and Stefan Scougall prominent roles following their recent arrivals at Bramall Lane.

Brayford, previously of Burton Albion, Crewe Alexandra and Derby County, said: “I’ve played in this division before and so I know how difficult that is. It can be a really unforgiving and relentless place to play your football.

“Everything is full-on all the time. You’ve got to be ready for that.

“I don’t know the reasons why we (United) find ourselves in the position we do. But, in a sense, that’s not the most important thing.

“It’s what happens now, between now and the end of the season, that counts.”

United will be without captain Michael Doyle for the meeting with Peterborough as the midfielder, who was dismissed before Fulham’s Hugo Rodallega scored the goal which means the fourth round tie must be replayed at Craven Cottage next month, begins a three match suspension.

Chris Porter, who had earlier edged United in front, is doubtful after being withdrawn due to a tight hamstring.

Peterborough, who have been frustrated in their efforts to sign a new striker during the transfer window, are without Lee Tomlin after the forward was sent-off for the sixth time since arriving at London Road four years ago during Saturday’s 5-4 defeat by Oldham Athletic.

Tomlin saw red for deliberating denying Athletic a goalscoring opportunity as Darren Ferguson’s charges, leading 3-0 at half-time, capitulated during the second period at Boundary Park.

His one match ban was yesterday increased to four by the Football Association because Tomlin had already collected two red cards this term.

“If we can replicate the standard we showed (against Fulham) over the next few games then I see no reason why we can’t start climbing the table,” Brayford said. “But the first thing is to get into to a position of safety.”