Its calibre will be judged at the end of the season but, according to Nigel Adkins’, Sheffield United’s first team squad has already demonstrated the character required to secure play-off qualification.
Adkins delivered his assessment after watching it avert talk of a full-blown crisis at Bramall Lane ahead of this weekend’s game against Rochdale.
United, four points behind sixth-placed Coventry City with 14 matches remaining, beat Port Vale four days ago having seen their preparations hijacked by news that Jose Baxter is facing a lengthy ban after failing a drugs test and the fall-out from a disappointing defeat by Bury.
Adkins said: “There was talk coming into the game but you’ve seen a united football club. There’s a genuine desire to see this club do well. I thank the fans for sticking by the players but they’ve stuck by each other, they’ve done their part too.
“The play-off position is still within our grasp and we’re at the business end now. We’ve experienced it so I’d like to think we can hold our nerve.”
Adkins, who achieved promotions with both Scunthorpe and Southampton before being appointed in June, added: “Character was going to be key last time out. I keep talking about grit and resilience.
“The players have shown that. They were determined to work hard for each other. When they came off, they were visibly shattered.”