Nigel Adkins has demanded a response from his Sheffield United players after Tuesday evening’s defeat at Bury.
United, who trail the play-offs by five points, host Robert Page’s Port Vale this afternoon and Adkins said: “I am looking for a response at the weekend from the players... from everybody.
“We have a common cause, and that’s win the next game.
“Tuesday night was out first defeat away in the league since October, that’s not too bad, but we have had too many draws. I’m not hiding away from that.
“We need to games where we have drawn into victories. We just have to start taking our chances.”
Adkins refused to divert responsibility for United’s faltering promotion push, which was compounded yesterday by confirmation that Jose Baxter has been suspended for an ‘off-field’ matter.
“We have got to keep working hard, short-term and long-term, to get it right,” Adkins added.
“There’s a big desire from upstairs, the owners, to get it right, and certainly from myself also.
“The players are aware of it, they know they have to go and perform.
“We are mid-table in League One and that isn’t good enough for this football club.”
Vale, managed by former United favourite Page, continue to punch above their weight in League One and haven’t given up hope of a late push for the play-offs.
Paul Bodin, Page’s assistant at Vale, told the Stoke Sentinel: “I am sure when they set up at the start of the season as a club, United would have been expecting to be in the automatic promotion positions.
“But, for whatever reason, they are only just outside.
“There are still plenty of games to go and I am sure Nigel Adkins and his staff and the players will still expect to go up.
“So there is a little bit more pressure on them then perhaps there was on us, certainly at the start of the season.
“But we are very close to them, we are on the peripheral positions of the play offs.
“There are 14 games to go for us and we will be hoping to accumulate as many points as we can as soon as we can.”