Points will make prizes for United

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THEY have won plaudits for attempting to pass their way towards promotion.

But, according to Ryan Flynn, Sheffield United are prepared to risk offending the purists if a more strong-arm approach is required as the battle for Championship football enters a critical phase.

“We’ll take ugly wins,” the winger admitted last night. “We’re ready to do whatever it takes to try and get to where we want to be.

“I can see this season going right down to the wire and we’re ready for that.

“We want to play well but points, not performances, are absolutely key at this stage.”

Danny Wilson, the manager responsible for transforming United’s style of play, believes to two are inextricably linked, having dismissed suggestions that back to back defeats by Charlton Athletic and Birmingham City - the latter in the FA Cup - have punctured his squad’s self-belief.

Echoing those sentiments, Flynn insisted fourth-placed United are confident they possess both the ability and experience required to shrug off the disappointment of last season’s relegation.

“There’s a self-belief here,” Flynn said. “Without a shadow of a doubt.

“You can feel it before games, during games and, just as important, when we are training.

“At least, that’s how I feel anyway.”

Wilson cut a confident figure throughout his weekly media briefing at Shirecliffe on Thursday, claiming United had issued a positive statement of intent by refusing to offload their highest earners during the recent transfer window.

Instead, having arranged loan deals for youngsters Erik Tonne and David McAllister, a board of directors keen to restructure the club’s finances sanctioned the arrivals of Marcus Williams and James Beattie before releasing the funds required to recruit Will Hoskins for the rest of the season.

The Star can also reveal that Blackpool’s Billy Clarke had been poised to re-join United following a successful loan spell earlier this term until family reasons prompted him to sign for Crawley Town instead.

United’s League One rivals Huddersfield Town were also monitoring Clarke’s situation but appeared destined to lose out to their Yorkshire neighbours until personal circumstances conspired to lure the centre-forward south.

Meanwhile, referee Trevor Kettle has outlined his reasons for deciding that today’s meeting between United and Colchester at the Weston Homes Community Stadium could not go ahead as scheduled.

The match official postponed the fixture at 1pm yesterday and said: “It was a very easy decision. There is a 20-metre strip across the pitch, where a stand casts a shadow, which is really solid.

“Even with the temperature at one degree C, the wind chill factor was making it feel lower. With sub-zero temperatures anticipated in the morning, the probability of the pitch being playable was very, very low.

“Therefore, in the interests of safety, I was of the opinion that the game should be called off.”