Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder admits his Blades players owe their team a performance this weekend after their hopes of making the Championship play-offs were all-but extinguished.
Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Birmingham City left United still three points behind Millwall with two games to play, but with four teams between them and the sixth-placed Lions.
To stand any chance of gatecrashing the top six, United must beat two rivals in Preston and Bristol City and hope other results go their way, and Wilder hopes to see a large crowd at Bramall Lane on Saturday for the visit of Alex Neil’s ninth-placed Preston.
“There should be,” the Blades boss admitted. “We’ve got to put on a performance and see what happens. Regardless of what’s happened the rest of the season, what happened on Saturday was not what I expect from this group and was up there with two or three of the poorer days we’ve had this season.
“Maybe one or two players have got a little bit comfy, perhaps one or two haven’t done enough on the outside to push, but I’ll sort that out. I’ve been in the game long enough to know what to do and I’ll work for us to get better - I’m always trying to do that.
“We looked a tired, leggy team and I didn’t enjoy our performance out there.”
“We had a great opportunity to achieve something this season,” Wilder added.
“But we have not come up with big enough moments when we were doing well. That is the difference between us the teams who are in the play-offs.
“The damage hasn’t been done today but we’ve got to finish on the front foot. Hopefully we’ll have a big crowd on Saturday, which I think it should be, and I think we’ll sell out at Bristol but right now, the feeling is that making the play-offs is too big of an ask.”
Meanwhile, United’s U23s lost 1-0 to Charlton at the Valley yesterday afternoon.