Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, has warned it would be a grave mistake to write-off his team’s automatic promotion chances despite admitting Bristol City are red hot favourites to finish on top of League One, writes James Shield.
United, who are poised to welcome Jose Baxter back from injury against Coventry City this afternoon, enter their meeting with Steve Pressley’s side chasing a fourth straight win following a busy month in the transfer market.
Clough said: “Halfway through the season a couple of teams had 54 points. I can’t remember the last time someone got 108 so it’s very unlikely they can replicate that form in the second half.
“Bristol City have got the most capability of doing that and I still think they will win the league. But I still think that second spot might be up for grabs.
“Even the small fact that we have done playing the top four helps. You might say you want to play them to take points off them but you look at the games on paper and we haven’t got to go to those four places.
“The top four have all got each other to play as well, so that’s a benefit to us.”
United, in fifth, stalled City’s progress when they triumphed 3-1 at Ashton Gate last weekend before beating Notts County on Tuesday evening.
But, sounding a note of caution, Clough added: “We are still not giving up on the top two but also we are not even assured of a top-six place yet. There’s still plenty to go at.
“Bradford have only lost a couple of games since November, they are in a very good run of form, as are Doncaster Rovers.
“Chesterfield and Oldham are still in there, so we are not even assured of a top six. Anyone down to about half way have still got designs on the play-offs.
“Bradford have got to come to us, Chesterfield and Doncaster have still got to come to us. So three of the four clubs chasing have still to come to Bramall Lane.”