SHEFFIELD UNITED: Macca is preparing to get nasty

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KEVIN McDonald is ready to embrace football’s dark arts in a bid to help Sheffield United reach the League One summit.

The former Scotland under-21 international outlined his plan ahead of this afternoon’s visit to Carlisle where Danny Wilson’s side will encounter opponents vowing to win over their critics following a disappointing run of results.

Although McDonald prefers to rely on brain rather than brawn, the midfielder said: “I like to be on the ball all the time but you’ve got to do the dirty side of it. It is not an amazing side of the game but it’s got to be done.

“I do it to the best of my ability. I am improving each week at that.

“In the first 20 minutes of every game, you’ve got to be able to battle with the other team. You have to match them. That’s when you start playing football.

“There aren’t a load of proper footballing teams in the league this year. MK Dons are the outstanding ones.

“It is up to us. It is not up to the other teams because if we work just as well as everyone else and play our football then we are just as strong if not stronger than everyone in this league.”

United, who are fourth, head to the sporting outpost of Brunton Park looking to avenge last term’s 3-2 defeat by Greg Abbott’s side. Carlisle climbed to seventh following that win but now find themselves 18th in the table and four points above the relegation zone.

“It is hard going away to these places,” McDonald said. “Their fans will be buzzing that Sheffield United are coming and we’ve got to cope with that.”