Sheffield United’s derby warning: “We’re not afraid of anyone”

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SHEFFIELD United midfielder Nick Montgomery fired the final shot in the psychological war ahead of tomorrow’s Steel City derby by insisting: “We’re not afraid of anyone.”

Montgomery, who hopes to retain his place in Danny Wilson’s starting 11 after recovering from injury, admitted arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday travel to Bramall Lane as favourites after winning four of their previous five outings in League One.

Gary Madine, Wednesday’s in-form striker, used a recent radio interview to claim the visitors provoked fear in some opposition after climbing to second in the table.

But Montgomery said last night: “We don’t fear anyone in this league. We’re confident in our own ability and I think, apart from a blip of late, we’ve been performing well.

“This comes down to who handles it best and hopefully it will be us.”

United confirmed the loan signings of Matt Phillips and Billy Clarke yesterday, but Montgomery heard player/coach Chris Morgan insist the midfielder “would be the first name” on his United team sheet when fit.

“Monty gives everything for those around him,” the central defender said. “Obviously the gaffer (Danny Wilson) knows best but I think people only realise what Monty brings to the table when he’s not there.”

United are expected to hand debuts to the Blackpool duo as Wilson looks to sharpen his side’s attacking instincts.

“Matty has got pace to burnand Billy is a clever player who takes up positions that are hard to mark,” Morgan added.

United have slipped to seventh after suffering defeats by Wycombe and Charlton but returned to winning ways against Rotherham in the JP Trophy earlier this month.

Montgomery was tipped to leave Bramall Lane following last season’s relegation but said: “Credit to the club, they’ve kept the squad together to try and get promotion this season.”