Neill Collins believes Sheffield United’s ability to win ugly could prove invaluable as the battle for Championship football enters a critical phase.
The centre-half, who won promotions with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds and Sunderland before arriving at Bramall Lane, warned teams lacking the ability to “grind out” results are likely the fall by the wayside when the top six places are decided in May.
Collins, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game against Peterborough, said: “I think it is sometimes hard as people expect the teams at the top to be playing free-flowing football and battering teams easily every week, but that’s quite simply not the case. Maybe out of five games, you have one really good performance, one pretty good one and three where you just grind out a win. If we keep doing that, it will be interesting to see how the second half of the season unfolds.”
Despite scoring more goals than any other club in the competition this term, sixth-placed Peterborough head to Bramall Lane having won only one of their last four outings. Despite boasting the division’s fifth best attack, United manager Nigel Adkins has instructed his players to focus predominately on their defensive duties in recent weeks. The policy sees them enter the meeting with Graham Westley’s side searching for a fourth consecutive league victory.
Collins, who joined United five years ago, said: “In the time I have been here, we have won in a lot of different ways. In my first season, we tended to score an awful lot of goals and beat a lot of teams handsomely and in the second season, we went the opposite way and didn’t score many and kept them out. “It is about the team finding an identity and way of winning and recently we have done that. But I think we will improve again and become more rounded as a team as the season goes on and the confidence grows and the players get relationships with each other.”