Win, lose or draw, Lyle Taylor believes Sheffield United will earn the respect of supporters providing they deliver a whole-hearted performance at Greenhous Meadow this afternoon, writes James Shield.
Nigel Clough’s side enter their meeting with Shrewsbury Town languishing at the wrong end of the League One table but unbeaten in their last three games.
Despite the South Yorkshire club’s perilous predicament, Taylor attributed its improved form to a change in atmosphere and attitude behind the scenes following a tumultuous start to the season.
“There seems to be a lot more determination now,” he said. “It’s always been there but it just feels more apparent now.
“The fans are hard-working as individuals and as families. They spend their hard-earned money coming to see us so I think they appreciate it when they can see us doing the same.
“Even if we get beat 1-0, or if we snatched a 94th minute equaliser in a game, I they’d back us if they knew we had given our all.
“You saw that when we played Coventry recently. We started really badly but then gave it everything and nearly got a point.
“We didn’t get a victory but we did get a standing ovation at the end and that spoke volumes in my eyes. It showed what those people behind the goal wanted to see.”
Taylor, who scored twice during that 3-2 defeat at Sixfields Stadium, claimed Chris Morgan’s appointment as caretaker manager proved the catalyst for United’s upturn in fortunes.
The 35-year-old returned four points from a possible nine after taking charge following David Weir’s dismissal before relinquishing control earlier this month.
Revealing how Clough, appointed as the former Scotland international’s permanent successor 10 days ago, has accelerated the healing process, Taylor added: “The gaffer stopped training earlier this week and said something really interesting. He told us all to watch each others’ backs and to do our mates’ running for them because, if we do that, then 15 minutes later they’ll return the favour for us.”
“I think that sums things up,” Taylor continued. “That’s the kind of spirit we’ve got going here at the moment.
“You can see it in games because we’re hunting in packs. There’s Marlon (King) and myself and then the likes of Doyler (Michael Doyle) and the rest of the midfield right behind us.
“We’re really pressing the opposition now and that means that, when we do win the ball back, we are gaining possession a lot further up the pitch.
“Results change everything. They always do.
“Everything is different in terms of the mood now which is good.”
Nevertheless Clough, who watched United celebrate his first match at the helm by beating Crewe Alexandra last weekend, used Wednesday’s pre-match media to warn that a loss of focus could have disastrous consequences.
“We’ve had a good run,” he said. “We’ve given ourselves something encouraging to build on but we must not get carried away, we still have to realise where we are in the table
Echoing those sentiments, Taylor, a summer signing from Falkirk, said: “There’s a renewed confidence but we’ve still got to focus on the job in hand and not look to far ahead.
“How far can we go if we continue to do well? I don’t know because I’m not been in this league long enough, I’m not qualified to give an answer.
“In any case, it’s irrelevant at the moment because there are more important things to do and that’s dragging ourselves and this football club higher up the table.
“What I do know, is that we are going to give our all.”