Nigel Adkins believes the teams which secure promotion to the Championship this season will be the ones who hold their nerve.
The Sheffield United manager, who guided both Scunthorpe and Southampton into the second tier of English football before taking charge at Bramall Lane, was speaking after dismissing claims his team lack the strength of character required to secure a top two finish after finding themselves in eighth place.
“We were 22nd in League One when we took over at Southampton,” Adkins said.
“I don’t think we got to the top two positions until the very end.
“You keep going, we scored goals, kept clean sheets and had a good group of players who worked very hard for each other.
“It’s a tough division and you need to keep going and keep the belief keeping going.
“We are eight points off the top and could easily have won the last two games. It’s fine margins; that would have put us right up there.”
“In this middle part of the season, we need to keep working hard, have a belief about ourselves and keep grinding away,” Adkins added.
“A consistency of team selection would help as consistency of performance will then come. All being well, we will put ourselves in that position.”
Adkins, whose side host Southend today, twice led Scunthorpe to promotion before arriving at St Mary’s.
Vowing to draw on those experiences this term, he added: “We went on long runs at both clubs.
“You need to put a run together, but we have been a bit inconsistent at this moment in time.
“But we are four months in to our time here, it’s a very early tenure.
“It’s changing things around and you can’t do it in all one go.
“We need to keep that belief going and it’s ultimately about winning.
“You need consistency of performance.
“If you know every week you are going to get seven out of ten from the players and one or two throw a nine in, that’s great instead of being one week a nine and then the next, a three.”