Blades need jump-start

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Six days for a full recharge from flat . . . the juice must have been turned on full at Bramall Lane this week.

Certainly no getting away from the fact that there must be more negatives than positives in the minds of many Sheffield United fans going into the dreaded play-offs.

But let’s start by declaring that the manager doesn’t need to be reminded of one particularly apt old saying because he embodies it: “When the going gets tough the tough get going.”

And, as two famous cooks from the hothouse of a TV kitchen keep reminding us: “It doesn’t get tougher than this.” So best to clear the table of the dirty dishes before savouring the feast that hopefully lays in store.

The Blades’ financial outlook is on a knife edge in terms of football progression.

Miss out on promotion and United will also lose their best players because the wage bill is already a multiple of League One levels and must come down anyway to comply with new Fair Play regulations.

Danny Wilson must enter a daunting shoot-out against Stevenage - who are unbeaten against Sheffield sides this season, winning three of the four - minus the jailed Ched Evans and the suspended James Beattie, potentially shredding a strike force in which Richard Cresswell is a walking wounded.

Now throw in United’s bleak record in the play-offs, losing three finals without scoring a goal across the last 15 years.

Had the last of them in 2009 been won instead of meekly surrendered to Burnley, the club could today be established in the Premier League. That’s the difference one match can make and once again the stakes could not be higher.

But sequences like that have to end sometime and let’s take a reality check by recalling the mood of last summer.

That was real depression, not this. United had dismally dropped from the Championship, there was managerial upheaval amid dark predictions that the squad would be stripped of the necessary quality to bounce back.

Enter Wilson under the storm cloud of a car park demonstration against his appointment.

Had Blades fans been told back then that the team would play the best football Bramall Lane has seen in years, score 92 goals, get 90 points and qualify for the play-offs in third spot, you suspect very few would not have taken it.

That is clearly Wilson’s mindset right now in preaching the positives to his team and also the fans who have to share that mood in games with Stevenage - tomorrow’s away leg - and at the Lane on Monday.

While we’re at it, let’s also sweep away the notion that United can’t find the net without Evans.

They scored twice in each of the last two games and on the second occasion with 10 men at Exeter.

But it does mean a big challenge awaits for Chris Porter, who has made an in and out contribution, and loanee Michael O’Halloran, supported by the scoring potential of Lee Williamson, Kevin McDonald and Stephen Quinn from midfield.

Boys, the headlines are waiting. . . you are well capable of grabbing them.