Billy Sharp has warned Sheffield United must confront the issues which threaten to undermine their bid for Championship football or risk spending another year in League One.
But, echoing manager Nigel Adkins’ concerns that a top two finish is now an impossibility, Sharp insisted the club can still achieve its objectives this season despite a series of disappointing results.
“Obviously we wanted automatic but, at the minute, we’ve got no chance of doing that,” he said. “We’ve still got a good chance of going up (via the play-offs) though so the target is still the same.
“It’s up to us to put things right and make sure we can still get promoted.”
United slipped to 11th in the table, five points behind sixth-placed Millwall, when they were beaten by Wigan Athletic last weekend.
Tomorrow’s game against Doncaster Rovers is the first of three matches Adkins’ side will contest in eight days and Sharp, the club’s leading goalscorer, acknowledged: “At the minute, there are teams above us in the table because they’ve been better than us. It’s as simple as that.
“Wigan were better than us on Saturday but it was easier for them in a sense because they are in a better position and it’s easier to consolidate than chase. That’s not an excuse but it is a fact. It’s down to us though and so it’s down to us as well to change it.”
United face Bury and Port Vale after the meeting with Sharp’s former club. The centre-forward, who turned 30 a week ago, has supported his present employers since childhood but said: “All the lads are desperate to do it, not just me. We’ve had two spells when we’ve won four on the trot but if you want to get promoted then you need six or seven on the spin.
“We’ve got to look at winning all three and then the picture will look different.”