Chris Basham has urged his Sheffield United team mates to fire a warning shot across the rest of the division’s bows when they open the new League One season against Bristol City this weekend, writes James Shield.
Nigel Clough’s side have been installed as favourites to win the title after embarking on a major recruitment drive which has seen nine new players arrive at Bramall Lane.
Basham, who rejected offers from the Championship in favour of joining United two months ago, believes the scheduling of Saturday’s televised fixture represents an opportunity for United to score an early psychological victory in the battle for promotion.
“That’s a chance for us to really lay down a marker,” he told The Star. “To show the rest of the teams we mean business and what we’re about.
“Because we kick-off at lunchtime, before everyone else, if we get the result we want then that’s going to make a real statement. It’s going to be a long hard road and nothing is decided on the first weekend - win, lose or draw - but that’s what we aim to do.”
United, who signed former NEC Nijmegen centre-forward Michael Higdon earlier this week, captured Basham on a free transfer in June after the midfielder elected to leave Bloomfield Road.
Clough has indicated he will attempt to bolster the defensive options at his disposal before the end of the transfer window but, speaking during Higdon’s official unveiling, refused to rule-out the possibility of another striker entering the fold.
“Everyone here wants promotion,” Basham said. “That’s why you come to a club like Sheffield United and so we’re all excited about the challenge ahead.
“But we’re under no illusions about how difficult it’s going to be and that there are no guarantees whatsoever. We know that we’re going to have to work really hard for everything we get.
“If you aren’t prepared to graft then you don’t stand a chance of doing anything.”