Daniel Lafferty wants to repay Chris Wilder’s faith after handing him a permanent deal at Bramall Lane by helping Sheffield United regain their Championship status.
The Northern Ireland international was awarded a two-and-a-half year contract with the League One leaders during the January transfer window after initially arriving from Burnley on loan.
United enter tomorrow’s game against Oxford eight points clear of third-placed Scunthorpe with 11 matches of the season remaining after drawing 3-3 at Rochdale last weekend and Lafferty, who scored a spectacular goal at the Crown Oil Arena, said: “Absolutely, I was delighted to get it done. From day one I’ve enjoyed it.
“The manager has given me a fantastic opportunity, from day one he put me in.
“I owe him a massive amount of credit and appreciation, the coaching staff too. I’m just enjoying it.
“There’s a great bunch of lads. Training is tough but it’s enjoyable. It’s not a slog. We really enjoy it.”
United could be without James Hanson when they visit Michael Appleton’s side after the centre-forward damaged an ankle midway through the second-half of Saturday’s game.
Wilder, who attributed to injury to the poor state of the playing surface, revealed afterwards that Hanson had “wanted to continue” but insisted: “He’s got an issue and we just couldn’t take the risk.”
Lafferty fired United into a 2-0 lead after Mark Duffy’s opener before Steven Davies and Matthew Lund clawed Rochdale back on level terms. Billy Sharp’s 24th goal of the season appeared to have settled the contest before Nathaniel Mendez-Laing pounced during the closing stages.
“We’re handling the so-called pressure very well,” Lafferty said. “We’re not getting carried away.”
“Training is the same and the good thing is, there are no egos in the dressing room. We’ll just get ready to go again and keep going. We train well and we know other teams don’t train the way we train, in terms of the intensity. We don’t just have to flick a switch come matchday.”