Sheffield United: Lane chief hails United grit

Ryan Flynn challenges David Buchanan for possession.
Ryan Flynn challenges David Buchanan for possession.
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Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough praised his team’s mental strength following their goalless draw at Preston North End.

Although last night’s result marked the end of the visitors’ 10 match winning sequence, the sight of them recording a club record eighth consecutive clean sheet prompted Clough to insist they possess substance as well as style.

“Six weeks or so ago, that would have been a game we might have lost,” he said. “I thought we played some decent stuff at times but the lads have shown they’re street-fighters. You don’t go as long without conceding as they have unless you are prepared to scrap and fight. And that speaks volumes about their spirit, togetherness and character. They are willing to battle for each other out there. Dig in when they have to and show some steel.

“That’s because they are a close knit group with a good spirit and cameraderie.”

“Although’s it’s obviously a little disappointing to see the run of victories finish, the fact that we’ve just broken the record (for clean sheets) is something I think they should be very proud of,” added the United chief.

“This football club has been going for nearly 125 years. That just goes to show how hard achieving something like that is.

“It also goes to show how hard the lads are prepared to work.”

United, who remain 10th in the League One table, saw full-backs Bob Harris and Matt Hill both depart through injury although fellow defender John Brayford could return for Saturday’s meeting with Wolverhampton Wanderers after making progress in his battle to overcome a calf problem.

“Bob felt something at the top of his thigh and then Matt, who had only just come on, felt his hamstring tighten after his first run,” Clough said. “With the reorganisation we had to do, that makes the clean sheet even more pleasing.

“If it was up to John he would have played. But we can’t take risks at this stage and we’re hopeful he could be okay for the weekend.”