Sheffield United: We will learn from our mistakes, says skipper

Sheffield United v Walsall    26.11.13'Pic : Martyn Harrison'Michael Doyle - Sheff Utd ''� BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Sheffield United v Walsall 26.11.13'Pic : Martyn Harrison'Michael Doyle - Sheff Utd ''� BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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Michael Doyle has vowed there will be no repeat of their Lamex nightmare last season, when Sheffield United visit Stevenage on Saturday.

The Unitedcaptain was part of the squad that was humbled 4-0 back in March, as Dani Lopez hit a hat-trick.

Of Doyle’s ten teammates that started that game, only Kevin McDonald, Barry Robson and Dave Kitson are no longer with the club - and the Irishman believes United will be stronger for the experience.

“Last time we went there, it all went wrong,” Doyle told The Star.

“We were on a bad run at the time, and that was the tip of the iceberg really.

“We went there to try and win the game, started well enough but before we knew it, we were 3-0 down.

“We were perhaps a little overconfident, but we’re more resolute away from home now.

“Stevenage are a physical side, and they get the crowd on their side very well so we’ll have to be physical and stand up to that.

“But on the whole, apart from that game, our meetings with Stevenage have typically been tight affairs at their place - and we have a lot to play for now.”

United travel south just above the League One relegation places, two points ahead of Graham Westley’s 21st-placed outfit.

“We will go there with a lot of confidence, on the back of a few good results,” Doyle added.

“We’re not getting carried away, though, because Saturday is a real six-pointer and, if we lose, we’re right back in trouble again.

“But if we go there and win, we’ll pull clear. Every game is a big game, of course, but we need some sort of result to bring back to Bramall Lane for two big games over Christmas.”

Under Clough’s tutelage, United have picked up 11 points from seven games to move out of the relegation zone and Doyle added: “We had got ourselves into the habit of losing games at the start of the season, and when we went behind in games we didn’t think we could turn it around.

“We were vulnerable, but now we’re enjoying winning games again and you can see our confidence is coming back, slowly but surely.

“We want to get to the point where you almost believe that you are going to win when you go out on the field.”

While Clough has ordered United to be more positive at home, he could adopt a more pragmatic approach on Saturday.

“The gaffer has made us hard to beat - we are starting to play the way he wants us to play, which is all about getting results and getting out of this division,” Doyle continued.

“It may not be pretty at times, but it can be effective and it’s all about collecting those three points at 5pm.

“We’d love to have a good Christmas and get towards the top of the table, but we can’t get carried away.

“We know we are in a dogfight, make no mistake. But this is the time of year when, if you can string a couple of wins together, you can quickly find yourself pulling away from the relegation zone and towards mid-table, and maybe even higher.”

Buxton boss Martin McIntosh believes young Blades duo Ioan Evans and Otis Khan will play a part for his side over a busy Christmas period. “They’ve shown they have talent,” McIntosh said, “and I certainly expect them to play some part.”

Former Blades and Rotherham midfielder Curtis Woodhouse has announced he will retire from boxing after his next fight, a British light-welterweight title bout against Darren Hamilton on February 22. Woodhouse made over 100 appearances for United.