Sheffield United urged to focus on themselves as season enters critical phase

Sheffield United's Nigel Adkins looks on dejected during the League One match at The Den.  Photo credit David Klein/Sportimage
Sheffield United's Nigel Adkins looks on dejected during the League One match at The Den. Photo credit David Klein/Sportimage
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Nigel Adkins has ordered his Sheffield United players to focus on themselves as they begin their quest to gatecrash the League One play-off places.

United, who are 12th in the table and trail sixth-placed Barnsley by six points, entertain relegation-threatened Crewe tomorrow at Bramall Lane (3pm).

Their rescheduled trip to Southend, which will now be televised on Sky Sports next Wednesday, means the gap between themselves and the top six could be even greater, with their promotion rivals in action on Monday.

But Adkins, who won promotion from this division with Scunthorpe and Southampton, said: “We are in the race, and it is important we win on Friday. We can’t hide away from that.

“There probably might be a case of the gap getting bigger because teams play on Monday, while we have to wait until Wednesday.

“But we can’t help that. We just have to think about winning the next game. Spending all our energy on that. When that is done, learn the lessons from it and then go win the next game.

“We just have to keep going all the way.”

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United still have to face five of their play-off rivals before now and the end of the season, and Adkins added: “That’s great for us. Having been there before, there will be some very interesting results. Teams will lose games they are expected to win and vice versa.

“We are in there. There are several teams in and around us. The fact is we have to go and win games of football. If we were higher in the division, we would still need to win games of football.

“If we can put ourselves in a position where momentum is right, then that is a big thing.”

Crewe, meanwhile, are second from bottom in League One and sit eight points from safety.

“Crewe need victories, we do too,” Adkins added.

“We battered them down there but we lost 1-0.

“I thought we were better at Millwall than Oldham but we didn’t get that early goal. That was the difference. There are nine games to go and so many teams have an opportunity of the play-offs, that tells you a lot about the league.

“We’ll have more of a chance if we stay positive than if we go the other way.”