Sheffield United’s FA Cup hero Jamal Campbell-Ryce has urged his teammates to show no fear as they prepare for a run of games which could shape their League One season.
United, who reached the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 3-0 win away at Premier League side Queens Park Rangers on Sunday, resume their domestic commitments on Saturday when they face third-placed Preston North End, who are three places and 12 points ahead in the League One standings.
Nigel Clough’s side also face fellow promotion hopefuls MK Dons and Swindon this month, as well as a two-legged Capital One Cup semi-final against Tottenham. Their game against play-off hopefuls Rochdale has been postponed, as United will face Preston in the FA Cup fourth round that weekend.
And Campbell-Ryce, who scored two of United’s goals in the capital after Marc McNulty’s opener, said: “The next month to six weeks will define our automatic promotion hopes. There’s no doubt about that at all.
“We’ve got a lot of top sides to come, even looking ahead to Bristol City in February, so it’s massive but at the same time, it’s important that we show no fear. We’re still probably the biggest club in the league so when teams come to play us, they’ll always be up for it no matter where they are in the table.
“It’s a massive six weeks for us and it’s up to us to make it definitive, in a positive way. We’ve got to crack on now, or risk falling further behind the top two places.”
Campbell-Ryce, who has netted six goals for United now since his summer arrival after leaving Notts County, added: “We were over the moon to get the win. It was a fantastic result.
“Of course, we were big underdogs but we gave a really good account of ourselves to register a comfortable victory. The key was, again, that we were fearless.
“QPR are a top club in the Premier League but that’s what cup competitions are all about - who is better on the day, and who wants it more on the day. And on Sunday, that was us.”
United’s fourth-round tie will take place on January 24 or 25.