Sheffield United: Players told to hold their nerve

Harry Maguire and Chris Porter are both available for selection against Crewe Alexandra
Harry Maguire and Chris Porter are both available for selection against Crewe Alexandra
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Nigel Clough has ordered his players to hold their nerve after warning the battle for League One survival could go right down to the wire, writes James Shield.

And the Sheffield United manager, speaking ahead of today’s pivotal fixture with fellow strugglers Crewe Alexandra, last night opened a new front in the psychological war surrounding events towards the bottom of the table by insisting “half” of the division’s 24 teams are in danger of playing fourth tier football next term.

Asked whether character will decide which clubs drag themselves clear of the relegation zone, Clough replied: “Yes, I think so. There are a lot of important games coming up and, because of the weather, the fixtures are starting to stake up too.

“That’s why who holds their nerve the best is going to be so important. Who can deal with the situation the best.”

United head to Gresty Road ranked 21st and with games in hand on the most of their nearest rivals following the postponement of Wednesday’s match with Peterborough due to a waterlogged pitch at Bramall Lane.

“Lots of those who people think are safe probably aren’t,” Clough added. “I don’t even think those teams in mid-table are safe and, looking at the way it’s set-up, I can see it going all the way through to the end.”