Sheffield United's stars '˜aren't afraid to have a pop at each other' insists Blades star Chris Basham

The previous weekend, as they digested the manner of their disappointing derby-day defeat to Leeds, they decamped to London, Christmas jumpers and all, for their annual festive celebrations.

Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 4:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 4:35 pm
Chris Basham of Sheffield Utd celebrates the win at Reading: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Less than a week later, in the away dressing room at Reading's Madjeski Stadium, Sheffield United's players were at each other's throats.

Just not, as Chris Basham is at pains to point out, in a negative way.

West Bromwich Albion manager Darren Moore

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"We had a bit of a bite at each other in the dressing room because we wanted to show what we were about," Basham remembers, after a goalless first half against the Royals.

"We need that some times, a bit of feistiness amongst the boys. We came out all-guns blazing, shrugged off the cobwebs from the Christmas do and went again.

"That's the good thing about this group; we're not scared to speak up to each other because we're all good mates on and off the field.

"Even the younger boys stood up and the gaffer stood back. It gave us the kick up the a*se we needed for the second half." 

United, thanks to late strikes from Billy Sharp and a Sam Baldock own-goal, eventually ran out deserved 2-0 winners in front of the Sky Sports cameras and went third in the Championship, ahead of Friday's home clash - again televised - with West Bromwich Albion.

"We're buzzing to be at home on Friday," Basham, who is expected to make his 22nd appearance of the season against Darren Moore's side, added.

"I think we play our best football at home.

"We stick ourselves out there and set out to win football matches.

"To do that against an ex-Premier League side would be massive and we'll do all the things that Sheffield United are about, and hopefully put in a good performance."

Basham and Co. will also hope that victory at Reading has ended something of a hoodoo for the Blades, as prior to their journey to Berkshire Wilder's men had won just three of their 18 matches shown live on Sky Sports.

'That was another nice thing for us'¦Â winning on Sky has been hard since Leeds away last season,' the defender admitted.

'We were disappointed to lose to them this time around, too, so the result at Reading was massive '“ and a clean sheet was great for  the back five .

'We got off to a good start but then went on a bit of a stuttering run.

'Hopefully we can string a few wins together now '“ and any team that does that can get back into the top two.'