Sheffield United: Forget about breaking records, orders Clough

Blades manager Nigel Clough
Blades manager Nigel Clough
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Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, has ordered his team to focus on trying to beat Preston North End rather than chasing records.

The FA Cup semi-finalists enter tonight’s League One fixture at Deepdale searching for an 11th straight win in all competitions following victories over Charlton Athletic and Carlisle last week.

Some historians have claimed the victory over Graham Kavanagh’s side equalled United’s best run of form in its 124 year history.

Although the matter remains the subject of debate, Clough admitted: “To be truthful, I’m not really that bothered about the history books.

“What I am interested in is trying to make sure we keep on winning as many games as possible. The boys have done exceptionally well lately and they’ve put a lot of hard work in. I keep on saying it but that’s what everything boils down to; hard work and attitude.”

United, who face Hull City in the last four of the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium on April 13, are refusing to give-up on what Clough concedes are their faint hopes of qualifying for the end of season play-offs after moving to within 11 points of sixth-placed Peterborough with two games in hand.

Preston, meanwhile, are still chasing a top two finish having impressed under Simon Grayson’s tutelage this term. The Lancastrians, who drew with Stevenage six days ago, are ranked fourth after playing 36 matches.

“I think we are now facing our two biggests tests of the season,” Clough, whose team hosts Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, said. “We’ve maintained that all along.

“The lads have had a couple of days away for team bonding to help them get ready though. That’s been important.

“Preston and Wolves are two excellent sides. They’re both very well organised with some very good players so we appreciate we are going to have to be at our best although we’re also confident in our own ability.”

John Brayford will undergo a late fitness test before a decision is taken on whether he features after receiving treatment for a damaged calf muscle.

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