Leaving the Lane last Saturday we remarked that United are stumbling, stuttering and staggering into the play-offs.
We couldn’t think of any more words starting with ‘st’.
It reminds me of 1997/98 when after losing miserably at Stockport on the last day we sat around in the sun hoping that Birmingham City had not beaten Charlton. They had not, so we were in on goal difference.
With two draws and a defeat in the last three games, the end of this season is frustratingly similar to 97/98. With the squad United have got, why should this be so?
Part of the reason is injuries: several important players have missed weeks and months. But all clubs can point to injuries, so that’s no real excuse, especially as United’s squad appears deeper than most.
Tiredness, whether it be physical or mental? Possibly, but can five or six matches more than other teams over nine months really make that much difference?
Many Blades fans believe that the problems – if they can be called that – stem from not having a regular and reliable central defensive partnership all season – or even one regular and reliable centre half.
It’s probably no coincidence that United have played best with Terry Kennedy in defence and Chris Basham in midfield. Circumstances have dictated that this has rarely happened, but had Cloughie brought in a centre half in January instead of one of the two midfielders and two right backs, there may have been more opportunity for that to be the case.
Whatever division United are in next season, Cloughie needs to do something about it. Jake Buxton has been mentioned. Yes, another player Cloughie knows well, but so what? He’s strong and tough. Just what we need.