Ryan Flynn is happy to descend into the realm of cliché because, the former Sheffield United midfielder insisted last night, some of football’s tritest sayings hold the key to securing a top six place.
“The aim is to get in the play-offs but, really, the only thing we can focus on is the match we’ve got coming-up,” he said. “I know it sounds corny but, really, it’s true. All we should be bothered about it getting the right result and taking care of ourselves. Not worrying about anything else.”
United will be hoping to do exactly that when Oldham Athletic, now managed by former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder John Sheridan, visit South Yorkshire this weekend. Eleventh in the League One table with only 11 matches of the campaign remaining and trailing Barnsley, who occupy the fourth and final play-off berth by six points, Flynn acknowledged Nigel Adkins’ side face an uphill struggle to keep their promotion dream alive. But, he told The Star following Saturday’s draw against Fleetwood Town, it can be done.
“I think anyone who was there would say that we deserved to win the game,” Flynn continued. “Because we dominated the game, just like we did at Rochdale the week before.
“Yes, we didn’t get the results we wanted but the performances were good and, even though people might not want to hear it, that is a positive to take. If we keep on playing like that then, you’ve got to think, providing we take care of some of the little mistakes, then we’ll be okay going forward.”
Flynn, aged 27, can speak from experience having gone through the full gamut of emotions during his five years at Bramall Lane, The former Scotland under-19 international, signed from Falkirk by Adkins’ predecessor Danny Wilson in July 2011, was a member of the squads Nigel Clough guided into the semi-finals of both major domestic knockout competitions before being sacked 10 months ago and which qualified for the play-offs last term.
“The key is going on a run,” Flynn said. “When we came through a hard time in the league under Nigel Clough, we went on a ridiculous one when we won 10 in a row. Okay, that season we didn’t get there (the top six) but we were starting from a much lower base than we are now.
“Time is running out for us to do it but of course it’s not impossible. We know it can be done.
“The position we are in now, if we get in them then you would fancy us because we’d be in really good form and momentum too. If you worry about other teams all the time, trying to look at who is dropping points or winning them, then you’ll never get there. All you can do is look forward, look to the next game, and do whatever it takes to win it.”
United averted the possibility of a third consecutive defeat when Che Adams converted a penalty deep into added time at Highbury four days ago and Flynn, praising the teenager’s courage, admitted his team mate had set an example for the rest of Adkins’ charges to follow.
“Che showed good maturity. He showed bottle to step up and take it at that stage of the game,” Flynn said.
He had to wait so long and that also made it really difficult. Their players were trying to hold everything up, use all the usual mind games you expect, but he coped with it really well.
“People always say there’s pressure here. But that’s fine, you’ve got to take responsibility no matter how things are going rather than go on the pitch and hide. I think anyone who was there would say we deserved three points.”