SHEFFIELD United feel they can emerge buoyant from their recent form slump - helped this Saturday by the return of key defenders Matthew Lowton and Harry Maguire.
There is a feeling at Bramall Lane that the team, which has lost three of its last four in League One, can bounce back at Brentford with the young duo available for selection again. The high fliers will also be backed by more than 1,800 fans in the capital for the second of three tough looking away assignments.
Despite a dip in results, United’s destiny is still in their own hands. With 12 matches remaining, Danny Wilson’s men remain a point clear of Sheffield Wednesday, with a game in hand over their arch rivals, and two ahead of fourth-placed Huddersfield Town in the fight for automatic promotion.
Lowton and Maguire, who have come through the club’s famed academy system, are in line to return to action, having served one-match suspensions for their red cards in the 3-2 home defeat to Oldham Athletic. Lowton is expected to be recalled at right-back in place of Johannes Ertl whilst highly-rated teenager Maguire, who had not missed a single league match before the midweek loss at Walsall, is set to partner either Matt Hill or John Egan at centre-half.
Former United left-back Tom Cowan reckons the up-and-coming fixtures with Brentford and Colchester United could define his old club’s season.
“These are two massive matches and I think they need to get four points to get themselves back on track,” he told The Star.
“Brentford are going to be no pushovers. They are in ninth position so it is going to be a tough game, especially as United are still missing a few players.
“United have not blown it (automatic promotion) but they are not in the driving seat after the last two results. It was looking quite rosy for them four games ago but now it is looking a little bit harder.
“It is going to be a scrap for that second spot all the way to the end now.”
Cowan, who made 53 appearances for United between August 1991 and March 1994, thinks injuries and luck have recently conspired against United.
“Everything seems to be going against them at the moment,” said the Scot. “Teams that are strong will come through little wobbles and hopefully United will do. They just need to re-group.”
Wilson insists United “are still in a good position” and added: “It’s more careless little things that are costing us rather than anything which is seriously wrong.”