ALAN BIGGS AT LARGE: Anxiety before the celebrations

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Pop the corks, Sheffield football is back in the Championship! Except I see no champagne flowing.

But it’s a thought to hold close as we head into another weekend of frayed nerves and chewed fingernails. With maybe one or two more still to come.

Oddly, the city’s wider hopes and dreams are a long way to being fulfilled - with nobody able to celebrate. One team will be promoted, the other will be in the play-offs. It’s a glorious statistical truth that’s gone almost overlooked amid the second-place showdown between United and Wednesday. And it’s worth a cheer - even if I can’t hear one yet.

There’s also the blessed avoidance of a collision that colleague Pete McKee memorably depicted last week in the form of an iceberg. And a celebration in goals. . . lots of ‘em.

The Blades’ haul of 88 places them third on a Europe-wide chart sent to me this week by Twitter follower Nick Marriott. They are sandwiched between the might of Real Madrid (1) and Barcelona (2) and a trailing pack of Manchester City, Ajax and Manchester United.

Asked for the odd one out in that sequence, @ToyneBrian went straight for Sheffield United - because “all the others have the letter A in their name!” As do Sheffield Wednesday, of course, and they are no slouches in the goal stakes, either. The Owls have hit 78.

Maybe the pressure they have applied to themselves in order to keep it on their rivals is off them a touch. Yet there is more than one reason why Dave Jones will want to chase Danny Wilson all the way to the line. Staying on heat for the play-off challenge is now the most likely of those. But just suppose United drop points at MK Dons in a fixture from which a draw would normally be considered a good return. Wednesday beating Carlisle at Hillsborough would then close the gap with two to play.

Don’t tell me that is a foregone conclusion. Besides, Jones and his team will want to force the Blades into getting the seven points they need and they can only do that by winning all their last three.

You’d have to say Wilson’s team have shown so much composure and authority under the utmost pressure that they won’t crack now, with or without their star striker. Then again, I don’t expect Wednesday’s resolve to weaken either.

It all leaves the tantalising possibility of that last twist in the tale ...