Enda Stevens last night revealed how being branded promotion no-hopers made Sheffield United’s players even more determined to prove the critics wrong this term.
Chris Wilder’s side enter today’s game against Birmingham City third in the Championship table and knowing that a win will see them over-take second-placed Cardiff City.
United spent six years in League One before cruising to promotion last season and Stevens, who arrived after helping Portsmouth achieve promotion from League Two, said: “People might just see us as a League One team without much experience of this division. That is what we were branded as but this changing room has a lot of Championship experience.
“I won’t say what we were expecting to do but there was a belief here before the season. The players and managers are like that.”
“I love how this is such a positive group that is so forward thinking,” Stevens continued. “You believe you can achieve something. In our dressing room, there are a lot of promotions. That experience can be huge. Richard Stearman has gone into the Premier League, Billy did the same. Then last season, of course.”
Stevens, together with team mates John Lundstram and Leon Clarke, will miss next weekend’s visit to Millwall if he collects his fifth caution of the season today.
A former Republic of Ireland under-21 international, he spent three years with City’s arch-rivals Aston Villa before arriving at Bramall Lane.
“I’ve not really thought about it like that, with me once being a Villa player,” he said. “I’ve played against Birmingham before and, unless you are actually at a club, like when we played Sheffield Wednesday, it doesn’t make a great difference for me.”