Sheffield United travel to Premier League side Aston Villa this weekend with assistant manager Andy Garner insisting: “We don’t fear anyone”.
Nigel Clough’s United side take a break from their attempts to pull away from the League One relegation battle, for a glamour FA Cup third round trip to top-flight giants Villa on Saturday.
United, who began their 2014 campaign at Walsall yesterday, will travel south bouyed by four points from two home games against Oldham Athletic and Tranmere Rovers.
“It’s vital to win our home games, of course,” Garner, who also worked under Clough at Derby County, told the Telegraph.
“But we’ve not been too bad on our travels, and we don’t mind going away from home at all.
“The emphasis is on the home team to come at us and break us down, and we don’t fear anyone.
“Our away form has been okay on the whole, and we’re all working extremely hard.
“We’re nowhere near where we want to be, of course, but we’re on the right steps and we’ve got to keep building in the right direction.”
Garner also paid tribute to winger Jamie Murphy, who marked his return to the United starting eleven with a goal and a stand-out performance against Tranmere.
“We had a really good week in training, and worked on a few things about getting on the front foot in games.
“The wingers made a big difference, Murph and Flynny [Ryan Flynn].
“When we came in, it was difficult for us to hit the ground running and we’re lucky that we had Morgs [Chris Morgan] and Darren Ward to help us.
“But even after two or three weeks, there were a few players who didn’t show that much.
“It was a bit disappointing; when a new manager comes in, you think players will go at it and try and show what they’ve got.
“Murph was one of those players - he’s a prime example. He’s a shy lad anyway but for two or three weeks, we didn’t really see anything.
“But then he had a good game at Cambridge, and we started to think we have a player here.
“It was a similar case with Jose [Baxter].”
A goal in each game against Oldham and Tranmere took Jose Baxter’s tally to four in five games, and he is once again expected to spearhead United’s attacking threat against Paul Lambert’s Villa.
“We’re trying to get Jose on the ball as much as possible, no matter where he’s playing,” said Clough who allowed Lyle Taylor to join Partick Thistle earlier this week.
“Because when we do that, and he’s got a bit of time and space, he’s capable of hurting teams.”
Worksop Town boss Mark Shaw has revealed that “no official offers” have been made for Leon Mettam. United are reported to be one of several clubs looking at the striker, who has scored 36 goals already this season.
* Five youngsters from United’s Redtooth Academy have been offered professional contracts at Bramall Lane.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Connor Dimaio, Otis Khan, Louis Reed and Ben Whiteman have been handed pro terms, which will commence next summer if accepted.
The five players were presented to the Bramall Lane crowd before the Tranmere game, and Clough said: “These contract offers are reward for their work this season, and we are delighted to show commitment to these prospects.”