Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder insisted his team had passed another important test in the race for promotion after their draw with Oldham.
Jay O’Shea’s second-half goal preserved the League One leaders’ 10 point lead over third-placed Fleetwood Town with seven matches remaining after Tope Obadeyi had earlier scored for the hosts.
Admitting the poor state of the playing surface had forced United to adopt a direct approach, Wilder predicted both Uwe Rosler’s side and fellow title contenders Bolton Wanderers will find the conditions difficult when they visit Boundary Park next month.
“We might not have won but it was one of the more pleasing afternoons for me this season because we battled,” he said. “I made that point to the players as they came off the pitch. They were a bit flat but I stressed how important this point is.
“It was tough for all the players. Oldham are more used to it (the pitch) than us. We had spoken to our players beforehand about the pitch but I think they were surprised at just how bad it was.
“That’s not an excuse because, in fairness, Oldham under Shez (John Sheridan) like to play football and won’t want to be on it but they are more used to it than us. It was a tough afternoon but the sort of battle you have to overcome in a nine month season. It isn’t all about playing great football.”
“Fleetwood and Bolton have both got to come here,” Wilder added. “All the best with that, lads. If they get the wins, fair play to them. But this is not going to be an easy place for anyone to come between now and the end of the season.”
Wilder, though, revealed a “psychologically important point” had come at a price with both Caolan Lavery and Matt Done in danger of missing tomorrow’s game against Millwall with injuries.
“Caolan went in for a block tackle and opened up his medial ligaments a bit,” Wilder said. “He’ll go for a scan and we’re hoping it’s not serious, we’ll see. Matty (Done) took a heavy blow and didn’t feel great.”
“It was a bit like a concussion but we don’t think that’s what he’s got.”