Third versus 21st in the table and a club battling for promotion against one seemingly intent on fighting no one but itself, Thursday’s match at Ricoh Arena is being tipped as routine Sheffield United win.
As the visitors’ manager Chris Wilder is find of saying, though, there are “no gimmes” in League One. So, speaking ahead of their game against Coventry City, a famous footballing institution now in the midst of a brutal civil war, United’s goalkeeper Simon Moore has warned that the trip to Warwickshire could turn out to be one of their toughest games yet.
“It’s a cliche but that’s because it’s true,” he said. “In this league, you can take nothing for granted and there’s no such thing as an easy game. If you relax for a second, if you let your standards slip, then the chances are you are going to get punished. That’s why it’s important to prepare for every single match as if it’s going to be the hardest of the season. Do that and, come what may, stick to your beliefs.”
While United will enter their meeting with City three points behind leaders Scunthorpe with 25 games left to play, Mark Venus’ side have seen their campaign overshadowed by the ongoing dispute between controversial owners SISU and an increasingly disilussioned support base. Venus, who was placed in charge when Tony Mowbray resigned his position earlier this term, has been told he will remain at the helm until January when his position is set to be reviewed. But with the former Wolverhampton Wanderers defender becoming City’s ninth manager since SISU, a privately owned hedgefund sponsor completed its takeover nine years ago, United could find themselves being forced to contend with scenes reminiscent of last month’s fixture at Charlton Athletic where the the action was briefly halted due to terrace protests.
Moore, who arrived from Cardiff City before August’s transfer deadline, is confident they have to strength of character to cope if things turn ugly.
“The changing room is a fantastic set of lads,” he said. “There isn’t a bad lad in the bunch. I’m really enjoying my time here and the fans have been brilliant too.
“That character in the dressing room is huge. It’s what gets you to where you want to be. You can have talented players but if their mentality isn’t right then you are going to struggle. That’s not the case here, I think we’ve got both and we all wish each other well.”