Chesterfield’s Sam Hird thinks Sheffield United have underachieved this season.
One of the men tasked with stopping the Blades’ strikeforce on Saturday, Hird also feels the Blades’ resurgence in their last two outings has come too late for them to break into the top six.
Speaking ahead of the derby game, which is heading for a sell out, the centre-half gave his take on the opposition: “In my opinion with the budget they’ve got they should have finished higher than where they are now.
“I’m sure they’ll probably agree.
“Nigel Adkins came in, it’s obviously been a transition period for them, a lot of new players have come in but it looks like they’re starting to gel now towards the end of the season.
“But it’s probably a bit too late for them to get in the play-offs.”
Hird is still expecting a difficult, frenetic derby day clash however.
“They’ll be well up for it and we’ll have to match their workrate and effort before we can play our own football game,” he said.
“We’re not going to sit back and hopefully nick a draw, we’re going out to win the game, the manager I’m sure will put out an attacking side like he always does.
“It’s a local derby, there’s bragging rights at stake.
“It’s a big game for both clubs.”
The 28-year-old is one of Danny Wilson’s more experienced players, and admits it’s his job to help keep the younger Spireites from losing their heads in the heat of battle.
“It will be good for our young players, they might not have played in a derby quite like it,” he said.
“It’s going to be fiesty, it’s our job as more experienced players to get round the squad and make sure we keep calm heads.
“You don’t want someone sent off for a stupid challenge in the first five minutes.
“Challenges will be thrown, everyone will be at it, the game will have a quick tempo.
“The young lads know how big a game it is anyway, because we’re still not safe in this division.”
Chesterfield go into the game on the back of victories over Port Vale and Barnsley and Hird is happy with what he sees in the dressing room.
“Confidence is good, we’ve got a good squad,” he said.
“We’ve not produced, especially at home, as much as we should.
“Since the gaffer and his staff came in, we’ve performed consistently the majority of the time and shown we’re all fighting together.
“Lately our performances have been a lot better.
“The gaffer has come in with his own stamp and the players have responded to that.”