Manager Nigel Adkins has reminded his players that they have an obligation to Sheffield United’s supporters to end their inconsistent League One campaign on a high note.
United travel to Coventry City this weekend with top-six qualification still mathematically possible but, with only two games remaining, practically unlikely. They travel to the Midlands ninth in the table, four points behind sixth-placed Barnsley - but with Gillingham and Scunthorpe better equipped to take advantage of any slip from Paul Heckingbottom’s Reds.
United close out their season the following weekend at Bramall Lane against Scunthorpe United, the side Adkins twice led to the Championship.
“We think everyone was okay, injury-wise, after our last game against Barnsley,” Adkins said.
“We’ll see nearer the time. But whoever does go out on the field won’t be just playing out the season. I know what some people are saying, but we have a responsibility to ourselves as professionals, and also the supporters, to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“We won’t allow it too, as staff, and I think the fact the lads got themselves back in the hunt for the play-offs says a lot about their character.
“There are hard working professionals here and there’s a good spirit behind the scenes. We’re also fortunate to have excellent coaching staff who improve players and have a proven track record of doing exactly that.”
Games against Coventry and Scunthorpe also offer some members of Adkins’ squad a final chance to impress before their contracts expire in the summer. As revealed in yesterday’s Star, Adkins is prepared to wait until the end of the season to make a decision on the immediate futures of loan pair Dean Hammond and David Edgar, whose deals at Leicester City and Birmingham respectively run out this summer, but the likes of Ryan Flynn and captain Jay McEveley also face anxious waits to find out if their Bramall Lane careers will be extended.
“We’ve got two games of the season left and we’ll be giving everything in those games,” Adkins added.
“It goes without saying that we want to win them both. When the season is over, and only then, we’ll start making announcements about players. But only then, not before. We will do things in the right and proper manner.
“There’s a right way to go about things and that’s what we will do.”