IF strength of character decides the race for automatic promotion from League One then Danny Wilson, the Sheffield United manager, is confident his team will join Charlton Athletic in the Championship next season.
And, if the former Northern Ireland international needs a little extra help to inspire his players following last weekend’s defeat at MK Dons, he need look no further than their fellow professionals who named three members of Bramall Lane’s senior squad in the PFA’s divisional team of the year at a star-studded ceremony in London on Sunday night.
Only Athletic, now assured of the title following a narrow win over relegation threatened Wycombe Wanderers, received more nominations (four) from members of the union.
Huddersfield Town and Dons both secured two apiece.
Stephen Quinn and Harry Maguire - two of those included in the fictional starting 11 - are expected to feature for second-placed United when they resume their game of ‘After You Claude’ with Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
For the third time this month, Wilson’s players will kick off a match later than Dave Jones’ side in third.
But he rejected claims a win for their arch-rivals at Brentford would see United enter their evening televised fixture with Stevenage under intolerable pressure.
“My lads have been in exactly the same situation before and they’ve always shown their character,” said Wilson.
“They’re definitely made of the right stuff and it makes no difference because we’re focused on ourselves so it’s not really an issue.”
With Ched Evans, who completed United’s trio of PFA nominees, jailed for rape and fellow striker Richard Cresswell nursing a catalogue of injuries, United could be forced to start their remaining matches against Stevenage and Exeter City with a new-look attack.
Wilson, whose charges are one point ahead of Wednesday in the rankings, asked Chris Porter and Will Hoskins to spearhead United’s attack at stadium:mk.
But could be forced to reshuffle his pack again against Gary Smith’s side.
“We’ve got quality options available,” he said.
“We have excellent players with plenty of experience.”