Everything to play for, says McDonald

Man of culture: Kevin McDonald provides the quality in United's midfield operation
Man of culture: Kevin McDonald provides the quality in United's midfield operation
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KEVIN McDonald is convinced that Sheffield United can play their way to success in League One this season.

The former Scotland under-21 international, who has been tasked with spreading a veneer of ingenuity across an otherwise industrious midfield, dismissed claims that Danny Wilson’s side can only fight their way out of a division not exactly renowned for the fluidity of its football.

McDonald, who arrived at Bramall Lane earlier this summer after parting company with Burnley, also insisted United possess the strength of character required to cope with being viewed as one of the competition’s teams to beat.

Wilson, speaking after last weekend’s game at Wycombe Wanderers, acknowledged there had been “lots of high fives going on” in the home side’s dressing room after Stuart Beavon’s first-half strike condemned the visitors to only their third defeat of the new campaign.

“I like to play football,” McDonald said. “I’m not going to shy away from tackles or headers though.

“I don’t agree with those who says it’s impossible to do at this level. That makes no sense.

“So long as you are prepared to roll-up your sleeves and battle hard then there’s not going to be a problem.

“It’s only when you think that people are going to just let you go out there and knock the ball around that it becomes an issue. Nobody here thinks that.”

United remained second in the table despite losing at Adams Park.

But with leaders Charlton Athletic - who face MK Dons tonight - and Preston North End also in action before they entertain the Londoners on Saturday, Wilson’s men could enter the meeting with Chris Powell’s side as low as fourth. Hardly cause for concern but it could lead to jitters among some sections of the South Yorkshire club’s support.

United cre-

ated enough chances to win several games - never mind one - at Wanderers but paid the ultimate price for their profligacy when a rare miscalculation by Harry Maguire allowed Beavon to score.

Despite moving three points clear at the top of the rankings, Powell has also expressed concern about Athletic’s performances in front of goal.

Reflecting upon their 3-1 victory over Chesterfield, he said: “I want us to be more ruthless and clinical. We need to kill teams off.”

With Wilson also committed to helping United shed their old ‘route one’ image, McDonald’s vision and range of passing means he is likely to cement his place as a key figure in the manager’s plans.

The 22-year-old was a member of the Burnley squad which denied his new employers a place in the Premier League during the 2009 Championship play-off final.

“Promotion is promotion. I don’t care what division or whatever it’s in,” he said. “Helping United up would feel just as good and I’d look back on it just as proudly.

“Without a shadow of a doubt.”