DANNY Wilson, the Sheffield United manager, says those players on the periphery of his squad have been a driving force behind the club’s march to Wembley.
With injury and suspension wreaking havoc with Wilson’s planning in recent weeks, the former Northern Ireland international has utilised the majority of options at his disposal en route to next weekend’s League One showpiece with Huddersfield Town.
David McAllister and Nick Montgomery both appeared on the teamsheet during Monday’s semi-final second-leg victory over Stevenage with the latter replacing Kevin McDonald when the midfielder succumbed to a hamstring injury at half-time.
Wilson, who hopes McDonald will recover for the meeting with Simon Grayson’s side, said: “Everyone has contributed this season and, for me, that’s been one of the most impressive things about this group.
“They all help each other out, whether they’re going to be involved or not, and it’s absolutely vital to have that mentality.
“If that’s not the case then it makes it difficult to be properly prepared.
“But they’re a great bunch. They really are.”
Meanwhile, Stevenage have confirmed Scott Laird and John Mousinho, who both featured in the semi-final double-header with United, are set to leave the Lamex Stadium after turning down improved contract offers.
Laird, whose performances have attracted admiring glances from Wilson this term, has been a mainstay in the Hertfordshire club’s defence while Mousinho scored the winning goal in their League Two play-off final success over Torquay 12 months ago.
Joel Byrom and Chris Beardsley are also set to become free agents and Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace acknowledged: “We’ve had firm offers in for some of our contracted lads this week but we have no financial reason to sell.
“So, unless a head turning transfer fee is offered and the personal terms are potentially life-changing for the player concerned, then we will not engage in talks.”
Gary Smith, the Stevenage manager, admitted earlier this week that he must battle to keep the squad he inherited from Graham Westley intact.
Indeed, Smith’s predecessor is understood to be keen on luring Laird to Preston North End where he took charge in January.
“What we’re seeing is a group of players attracting a lot of attention,” said Smith.
Tickets for the League One play-off final with Huddersfield will be placed on general sale today.
United have been allocated nearly 40,000 seats.