Nigel Clough has warned League One’s leading teams that Sheffield United are now “fully focused” on gatecrashing the promotion party, writes James Shield.
And, speaking ahead of today’s game against pace-setters Bristol City, the former England international insisted his players will not need “any extra motivation” when they lock horns with Steve Cotterill’s side at Ashton Gate.
United reached the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup earlier this season before bowing-out of the FA Cup when they were beaten in a fourth round replay by Preston North End earlier this month.
“Hopefully, the realisation will kick-in now about what we have to do,” Clough, the United manager, said. “We’ve got 19 games left and there are absolutely no distractions now whatsoever.
“That was one of the things we spoke about after going out of the (FA) cup. That it’s all on the league now, there’s nothing else to work towards.
“So we can go out there, without any complications, and give it our best shot. All or nothing, that’s the type of attitude we can have.”
“We know it going to be difficult to claw back the gap between ourselves and the top two,” Clough, whose team are 15 points behind second-placed Swindon Town, added. “But we are not going to write anything off because that’s tantamount to giving up which is something we don’t do here.”
United travel to the south-west having bounced back from their shock defeat at Gillingham seven days ago with a 4-1 victory over Colchester on Tuesday evening. Jose Baxter, who scored twice, is expected to feature this afternoon while Matt Done will be searching for his second goal in as many games following a transfer deadline day move from Rochdale.
“I think, perhaps, there was a bit of a cup hangover (at Gillingham),” Clough said. “Don’t get me wrong, we’re not the type of side that goes out there thinking ‘Oh, it’s only them or Colchester’ because we’re not.
“But, when you’ve had those huge games we had against Spurs, in front of 30,000, there often can be a little bit of a come down.
“Anyone, no matter what level they are at, would be the same. If you play in front of 20,000 one week and then 50 the next then do you see people put in the same type of performance? It can be very difficult. But the big games, like this one, take care of themselves.
“You don’t need any extra motivation whatsoever. Everything now is on the league now, that’s all.”