NEILL Collins has been named as Sheffield United’s player of the month for September following a poll by supporters.
The central defender has forged an impressive partnership with Harry Maguire and insists consistent team selections have been a major factor behind his improved form.
Collins, signed from Leeds by Danny Wilson’s predecessor Micky Adams nine months ago, succeeds August winner Stephen Quinn.
“By and large we’ve had the same lads in the back four all season and I definitely think that’s helped all of us,” he said.
“It means we’ve got a good understanding during games but also that we can work on things in the week which we’ll be able to use in actual matches.
“It’s not the only reason but it’s still an important one.”
Wilson is preparing his squad for next Sunday’s derby with Sheffield Wednesday after tomorrow’s visit to Preston North End was postponed due to international commitments.
On-loan winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing is a major doubt after injuring his hamstring during the midweek Johnstone’s Paint Trophy victory over Rotherham.
“It’s a shame but these things happen unfortunately,” said United’s manager.
“We’ll take a look and see how serious it is.
“That’s when we’ll be able to say how long he’ll probably be out.”
Wilson’s major selection headache appears to focus on his strikers.
Chris Porter and Ched Evans were both on target against Andy Scott’s side but Richard Cresswell, United’s joint-top goalscorer, returned to the starting eleven at Don Valley Stadium.
Albeit in a wide rather than his preferred central role.
“I don’t mind at all,” said Cresswell. “As I’ve made clear time and time before I just love playing football.
“I’m 34 but I feel as fit as I’ve ever done and if it means I’m in the team then I’ll play wherever the gaffer wants me to.”
“Ports took his goal really well,” added Cresswell.
“Ched’s strike right at the end was fantastic too.
“He’d hit the bar earlier in the second-half so he deserved that goal for all his shots on target recently.”
United’s academy host Huddersfield Town at Shirecliffe tomorrow (kick-off 11am).
John Pemberton’s squad will be looking to stretch their unbeaten run to three matches following last weekend’s 4-3 win over Derby County.
Joe Ironside scored a hat-trick at Pride Park with Daniel Deakin also on target.
United’s home League One fixture with Notts County, which had been scheduled for Boxing Day, has now been moved to Tuesday 27 December (kick-off 2.15pm) after being selected for live coverage.