Sheffield United: ‘Why I’m aiming for automatic promotion, not the play-offs’

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Sheffield United should be targeting automatic promotion, not play-off qualification, according to Oliver Norwood.

The Northern Ireland international, speaking ahead of tomorrow's game against Queens Park Rangers, also dismissed suggestions the push for Premier League football could take its toll psychologically on Chris Wilder's squad.

Insisting that competing at the top end of the Championship is a pleasure, not a chore, Norwood said: "There’s a certain pressure, but it’s a good pressure. You want to be chasing down the top two, and if we get in there, we want to make sure we stay there.

"People might be scared to say that. But for me, at this football club, that has got to be the aim.

"This is why we play football. I have had seasons in the past when the season was over in March, and you start thinking about booking your summer holidays.

"Fortunately the last two or three seasons I haven’t been in that position, I have been in successful teams. 

"There’s nothing better than getting to the summer after a successful season and you can celebrate as a group. You have achieved something."

Norwood is chasing his third straight promotion after helping Brighton and Hove Albion and Fulham reach the Premier League before arriving at Bramall Lane on a loan to buy basis in August.

With his transfer from Albion becoming permanent earlier this month, the meeting with Steve McClaren's side will be Norwood's first appearance as a bona fide United player.

Wilder's team will enter the match in third, two points behind second-placed Norwich City.

"Looking at the rest of the division, we have got to fancy ourselves," Norwood said.

"I would back our group, 10 times out of 10, to win every game against whoever we played."