Sheffield United: Midfielder says lack of expensive household names is Bramall Lane’s secret weapon in this season’s promotion battle

Lee Evans says Sheffield United's players are prepared to work hard for each other: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Lee Evans says Sheffield United's players are prepared to work hard for each other: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
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Lee Evans has cited a lack of fashionable, household names as one of Sheffield United’s greatest strengths in the battle for Championship play-off qualification.

The midfielder, speaking ahead of today’s game against Nottingham Forest, made the claim after insisting two top six places are still effectively up-for-grabs with nine matches of the season remaining.

With manager Chris Wilder’s recruitment strategy focusing on footballers with a point to prove rather than proven talents, Evans said: “A team is more important than individual players. As an eleven we have to work together.

“We haven’t got the massive names in the Championship, like Aston Villa and Wolves. But we know on our day we can beat anybody in this league. It’s just about 11 players turning up and doing the best we can.

“This season there are some massive names in the Championship, players brought in for millions and millions of pounds.

“A couple of year ago, you wouldn’t have heard of that in the Championship. The league is getting stronger, but there is no substitute for hard work. A hard-working eleven will always do well.”

Chris Wilder has focused on players with a point to prove: David Klein/Sportimage

Chris Wilder has focused on players with a point to prove: David Klein/Sportimage

United, who climbed to seventh in the table following Tuesday’s win over Burton Albion, could overtake sixth-placed Middlesbrough if they beat Aitor Karanka’s side at Bramall Lane this afternoon.

Wilder publicly dismissed his team’s chances of securing back to back promotions during the aftermath of last month’s defeat by Hull City but Evans, who has been named in the Wales squad which travels to China next week, said: “The mood is really positive.

“We all know what happened at Hull, we all got told what people thought, but I think since then we have done really well. If we win on Saturday we can get into the play-offs. It’s all to play for.

“With nine games to go, we couldn’t have asked for much more. If we can get three points on Saturday, it would take us into the international break in great shape.

Lee Evans joined Sheffield United in January: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Lee Evans joined Sheffield United in January: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“Reaching the play-offs would be massive. With the club coming up last year, champions of League One, I don’t think many would have anticipated us being in this place. We are just enjoying it.”

“With five home games out of nine,” Evans added. “We are in great shape. The home form in this league is massive for anyone.”