Sheffield United: Nigel Clough warns his players that’s there’s plenty of hard work ahead

Jamie Murphy celebrates his goal against Notts County on Tuesday night
Jamie Murphy celebrates his goal against Notts County on Tuesday night
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Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough has told his players there is still plenty of hard work to get through as the Blades begin to show the form expected of them this season.

United endured an inconsistent first half to a campaign punctuated with impressive cup displays but with new players quickly settling in and most of a strong squad available, Clough’s men are pushing up the table.

A top two place and with it automatic promotion to the Championship, which had almost been written off a few weeks ago, is now on the Blades agenda following two impressive victories in a week, away to Bristol City on Saturday and Notts County on Tuesday.

United are 11 points behind second placed MK Dons, with two games in hand over Karl Robinson’s side and while it will still be a tough task to claw back the deficit, United have shown before that they are capable of going on a run that could take them into that coveted automatic spot.

At this stage last season United went on an eight-match unbeaten run, with seven of those victories, taking them from the relegation zone up to tenth, prompting outside hopes of a play-off spot, which would prove just too far beyond them.

With new signing from Rochdale, Matt Done already well up and running - his goal on Tuesday at Meadow Lane was his fourth in three games - and Jamie Murphy in stunning form Blades fans can at least harbour some ambition that they can catch MK Dons, but should that not happen, Clough’s side can ensure that they are in the play offs and still in the hunt to end their prolonged stay in League One.

While the buzz has returned to Bramall Lane, Clough is at pains to point out that any rise up the division will only come from maintaining the hard work which saw them to a 2-1 win on Tuesday.

“We’re capable of going on a run as everyone has seen. But we can’t take it for granted,” said Clough. “We’ve got to keep working hard because everything is going to be a test.

“Coventry will be at our place at the weekend. We’ve got to work for everything we get. There’s a long way to go yet and a lot of football to be played. County was difficult because it was our second away game in a row, after another tough one on the road at Bristol City.

“It will be nice to be back at our place at the weekend.”