Manager Nigel Clough believes the experience of Sheffield United’s cup exploits over the last two seasons will prove key in their push for a play-off spot.
United, who face South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley in a crucial derby this weekend, are fifth in the League One table, three places and five points ahead of Lee Johnson’s Reds.
United then face Doncaster Rovers in another crunch clash on Tuesday evening and Clough, who led United to the semi-finals of the FA Cup last season before repeating the feat in the Capital One Cup this term, said: “The fact they are derbies adds a little bit of spice, but the fact they’re chasing us for a play-off place adds a lot more.
“We also have Bradford and Chesterfield to come, so there’ll be a few good games in the run-in.
“It’s up to us to deal with that pressure; probably eight clubs are fighting for the last two play-off spots.
“The pressure of the last seven games will acclimatise us for the play-offs and we’ve got to call on our experience of the last two years, like the cup games, and make sure we get in that top six.”
Clough, whose side have beaten the likes of Aston Villa, Fulham, West Ham and Southampton since he took charge in October 2013, added: “Our players seem to thrive when their backs are against the wall and the cups helped with that.
“But a few players haven’t been in this situation before, so we don’t know how that’ll play out. Hopefully, we’ve got enough.”
“The good thing is that they’re surrounded by players who have been there and done it; so we have that experience to help on and off the pitch,” Clough added.
Just with things like keeping focused in training, staying composed and making sure we keep our heads in all situations.”