Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough has warned his players that reputations will count for nothing between now and the end of the League One campaign, writes James Shield.
Clough issued the threat after challenging the club’s long-serving players to rediscover the form which lifted them from 21st to seventh in the table last season and saw them reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
Despite preparing for next weekend’s game against Rochdale unbeaten in four outings, Clough wants to keep every member of his squad “on their toes” as United attempt to close the four point gap separating them from second placed Fleetwood Town.
And the former England international’s words will carry extra resonance given his desire to enter the emergency loan market.
“It doesn’t matter what people have done in the past,” Clough said. “It’s what they are doing now that counts.
“There is competition here now and so that means nobody, no matter who they are, can afford to rest on their laurels.
“If somebody shows they are worthy of a chance, by doing well in games or, just as importantly, working hard in training, then they’ll get one.”
United attempted to recruit a defender, defensive midfielder and centre-forward before Monday’s deadline for permanent signings.
“We’ve done well but we do need to start keeping more clean sheets,” Clough added. “And there are lots of others areas where we can improve but there is good ability here.
“What they (the players) have got to focus on is trying to show it every single match.”