Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough has vowed to punish any member of his team he suspects is playing for a draw during Saturday’s game at Leyton Orient, writes James Shield.
The visitors enter the match knowing they will be assured of a top six finish by avoiding defeat against Fabio Liverani’s side.
But Clough, speaking ahead of United’s penultimate match of the League One season, said: “There are two games to go and everybody knows what we need. Let’s muck in and get it.
“You can’t play for a point in football. You have to be positive and go out there to win.
“You can’t play for draws in football. It’s a dangerous thing to do and, more often that not, you end up coming unstuck.
“We will be doing everything we can to go out and get a result. Irrespective of what goes on elsewhere.”
Fifth-placed United will also qualify for the play-offs if Rochdale, in seventh, fail to beat fellow promotion contenders MK Dons.
“We can’t rely on them,” Clough added. “We have all seen freakish results in football.
“We have just got to take care of our own business and make sure we get a result.
“We have had enough opportunities in the last week. A clean sheet at Yeovil and we’d be in there now so we’ve missed out in many ways. We don’t want to miss out again now.”
Clough, who is expected to be without Matt Done, Terry Kennedy and Ryan Flynn due to injury, described United’s 2-0 victory over Barnsley three weeks ago as the blueprint for success in the capital. Orient have slashed ticket prices in a bid to attract a capacity crowd for a fixture which will have huge bearing on their battle for survival.
“We have got to detach ourselves from all that, like we did at Barnsley when we put in a good solid performance,” Clough said. “That’s a good analogy as although it is not a local derby, it is going to be the sort of games with a home side desperate for a win.
“Barnsley were desperate for that as they were trying to catch us in the play-offs while these are trying to stay in the league. It will be a similar sort of situation.”
United have sold-out their away allocation and Clough added: “We took a great following down there last year and they were going for the play-offs while we were bottom half.
“All the away support will be hugely appreciated. It really helped at Barnsley.
“We have to put a performance on that will evoke that support.”