Sheffield United: The international star who hasn't bothered to look at the Championship table - and here's why

John Egan has refuted suggestions that beating Championship high-flyers Stoke City would be a statement of intent from Sheffield United as they also attempt to regain Premier League status, insisting his previous promotion at Bramall Lane taught him the league table means nothing until after Christmas.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 3:45 pm
John Egan hasn't looked at the Championship table yet: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

United will be attempting to become only the sixth team to take points off the visitors this season when Michael O’Neill’s side visit South Yorkshire tomorrow.

Although Egan and his colleagues have prepared for the match in 14th, 10 placed behind their latest opponents, the Republic of Ireland centre-half, who helped United reach the top-flight three seasons ago, said: “Genuinely, the last time we went up I didn’t look at the table until January so I’m not looking at it at the moment either. It’s only then, around January, when you really know where you are.

“This isn’t about making a statement of intent. It’s about the next game, which we know will be tough.”

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Despite making a chequered start to life under Slavisa Jokanovic, who was appointed following their relegation last term, United experienced a marked upturn in performance levels following the last break in the domestic fixture schedule - scoring 10 goals during wins over Peterborough, Hull and Derby before, having also drawn with Preston, suffering defeats at Middlesbrough and AFC Bournemouth.

However, like Jokanovic, Egan insisted United’s display on the south coast confirmed they can beat opponents who spent 10 seasons in the top-flight before being demoted three years ago.

“We turned a corner after the last international break,” said Egan, acknowledging United’s increased creativity has come at a price. “We haven’t had time to debrief. We look ahead. It will be a tough game.”

“That’s what we’re on the pitch for as defenders - to try and keep clean sheets. I think we’ve done really well, so far this season. We have shown we can play any formation that’s required. We have really kicked on. We’ve got good players and a quality manager. That counts and that’s why we have a lot of confidence about what we can achieve if we work hard.”

Slavisa Jokanovic is preparing Sheffield United to face Stoke City: Simon Bellis/Sportimage