Sheffield United’s Mark Duffy admits he is desperate to get one over on Birmingham City this weekend after warning his old club: I’m determined to prove you wrong.
Duffy spent two years at St Andrew’s between 2014 and 2016, but started just one league game for the Blues before being farmed out on loan to Chesterfield and Burton Albion.
After successive promotions from League One with Burton and the Blades, Duffy has since established himself as one of the most impressive performers in the Championship this season and, ahead of Saturday’s return to the Midlands, admitted: “I really, really, really want to play in this game, and I’d love to score too, to prove a point.
“I got messages from Birmingham fans when I left saying I wasn’t good enough, and they’d never seen me play. I think I played seven games for them in all, which is a shame really as it’s a big club with a lot of tradition. But it just didn’t work out for me there.
“So this is a game that means a lot to me.”
Victory in the second city would have further reaching implications for United’s bid to reach the Championship play-offs, as the season reaches the final straight.
Ninth in the table, three points behind sixth-placed Millwall, United are considered by many to be outsiders - a situation that suits their playmaker perfectly.
“I’ve got a tattoo on my arm, that reads ‘one of the greatest pleasures in life is doing what people say you cannot do’,” Duffy added.
“For me, proving people wrong is a big thing. It stemmed back from being in Liverpool when they released me, and I had to drag myself off the canvas and say ‘I can do this’. I think I’m at my best when people write me off.
“That’s when I think to myself, ‘watch me’. Every time I have been written off in life, I’ve bounced back and done what I set out to do, whether it’s playing for another team or beating a team, or getting promoted or winning a league title.
“I have a strong mindset, really. Strong enough that I would have it tattooed on me! But it’d mean a lot to me to win this weekend and, more importantly, for the team too.”