Matt Done last night accepted Sheffield United must win their remaining six games in order to reach the end of season play-offs.
But, if Nigel Adkins’ side completes its mission improbable by securing a top six finish, then Done believes they would be the team others want to avoid when the battle for League One’s third and final promotion berth enters its decisive phase.
“If we win all six and yes, I think that’s what we need to do, then I definitely think we’ll get in there,” Done said. “If we do get in, if we achieve that, it inevitably means we will be preparing for them (the play-offs) in great form which is exactly what you want. We’d be confident and that’s what we are looking to do.”
United, eight points behind sixth-placed Millwall, enter today’s game against Gillingham knowing victory could move them to within five points of the Londoners ahead of next weekend’s visit to Chesterfield. Despite acknowledging their margin for error has long since disappeared, Done insisted League One’s reputation for producing haphazard results means his optimism is not misplaced with United now above the likes of Walsall, Burton Albion and also their latest opponents in the divisional form table.
“No one is putting a real run together among the chasing pack,” Done continued. “We can take confidence from that if we win. I think there’s things to be positive about here. We’ve played well recently and are starting to get our rewards which hasn’t always been the case. Consistency is everything in football. We’ve not been consistent up to now but there’s no reason why we can’t be from this point.”
United recorded their third straight win at Bramall Lane when they beat Walsall, who remained in third, seven days ago. Done attributes their improved performances to a number of factors, including the change to a 3-5-2 system which sees him deployed at wing-back.
“It’s a hard position to play because it involves a lot of running,” he said. “But it’s not that unusual for me because I played left-back in a promotion winning team at Rochdale.”
“We feel confident,” Done, who was signed as a centre-forward, continued. “We’ve been working a lot on our shape and the squad has also been tightened so everybody now knows exactly what their role is, how they should be approaching that and what they’ve got to do.”
Done was still nursing a shoulder injury when United lost 4-0 at Gillingham on the opening day of the campaign but, speaking at their Steelphalt Academy training complex, revealed he is also motivated by a desire to avenge that result.
“The gaffer has been on about it this week,” he said. “He’s told us that we have a point to prove to Gillingham but also to stay focused and concentrate on our jobs.
“After Walsall, we were straight in the dressing room checking what the teams around us had done because we know we also need to rely on others slipping-up now. But if we don’t do what we need to do first, then it doesn’t matter what happens elsewhere does it.”