Defender Neill hoping the tables will turn for Blades

Neill Collins of Sheffield Utd
Neill Collins of Sheffield Utd
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Victory over Swindon Town this afternoon could send Sheffield United into League One’s top six - and move Neill Collins a step closer towards being able to assess the divisional standings.

“I try not to look at the table,” the Scottish defender revealed on the eve of today’s clash at Bramall Lane.

“I hate it when we are not top four or five. But getting in the play-offs this evening would be good.

“This league is so tight this year... there are a lot of teams well within touching distance.There’s still half a season left, so we want to get into the play-off positions, but once we get there, keep moving on.

“We have seen over the years how, at this stage of the season, there are still a lot of positions which can change.

“And, as boring as it sounds, we just have to take one game at a time.”

Collins, who has won promotion to the Premier League with both Sunderland and Wolves, has also been involved in two United’s last three play-off campaigns; so is uniquely placed to assess the different challenges faced by leading and chasing.

“The time can go quickly if you are not making the most of the games, losing, and before you know you are running out of time,” he said.

“But it doesn’t go as quickly if you are top of the league and want the season to be finished. We have 20 games to go. We need to get wins on the board as quickly as possible to put pressure on others.”

United, who saw their last attempt to reach the Championship halted by a 7-6 aggregate defeat to Swindon last year, face the Wiltshire side again this afternoon just a point behind sixth-placed Peterborough United.

Swindon, in comparison, are six points behind United in mid-table but Collins isn’t expecting a straightforward affair.

“I have rarely in my time here found any game easy, even when we have had big results,” he said.

“There are always stages in games when it’s tough and on a knife-edge. Very rarely in the Football League do you see teams running away with games, leading 3-0 at half-time.

“The Wigan fightback [to draw 3-3 after being 3-0 down] was great to have in our locker. I have been in teams that when you go behind, you know you’re not coming back. It’s not about character, it’s just you’re not that type of team.”

Manager Nigel Adkins, too, is wary of Town’s threat.

“Swindon will be a danger,” the Blades boss insisted.

“They are expansive, free-flowing and will come here with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

“That will present us with a challenge but also provide us with opportunities.”

“From here on in, it’s all about getting wins,” Adkins added.

“At this stage, it’s all about results. We are looking fitter, stronger, more powerful and better at set-plays.

“And there’s a genuine togetherness with everybody sharing the same aspirations, too.”

Collins, too,