Sheffield United: Boss Wilson calls on Blades to be United ahead of run-in

Never say die.

Three little words, plastered around the Sheffield United crest on the walls of the Bramall Lane tunnel, which provided the backdrop to Danny Wilson’s media conference after Tuesday’s home defeat to Crawley Town.

But those three little words may yet play a pivotal part in United’s quest for promotion, as they face five pivotal league games which will ultimately decide their fate.

“The fans were great against Crawley, but they didn’t witness a bad performance,” the United boss reflected.

“We just lacked that first goal. If we can get that, then it will be a big plus for us.

“We just cant seem to force that through at the moment, but we’ve got to persevere.

“We can’t just down tools and give up, and think ‘woe is us’. We’ll get through it.”

The defeat to Crawley, which saw United miss an opportunity to make up ground on League One leaders Doncaster Rovers, was only United’s second in 12 games.

But, perhaps more tellingly, it was also their fourth successive game at Bramall Lane without finding the net.

“We’ve been on a good run lately,” Wilson added.

“But at this stage, every game makes a difference. People look at one result, and they have an opinion on it - some people will think that our season is over with that result (against Crawley).

“But we believe that we’ve still got a lot to offer.

“There are five games to come - and I believe that we’re more than capable of winning them.”

United’s biggest test of those five remaining games will come in the next week, when they host fellow Play-Off rivals Swindon Town and Brentford at Bramall Lane.

Wilson will hope for a positive response from his charges, who were kept locked in the home changing room for over an hour on Tuesday evening.

“There was a good chat after the game,” Wilson admitted.

“But it wasn’t a cup throwing exercise; far from it. We had a constructive chat, and that’s what you want - it isn’t all about patting each other on the back, no matter what.

“We had to clear the air in certain areas, and understand where we can do better on Saturday.

“The back four don’t always want to be under the pressure of having to keep a clean sheet to win a game, and that was one of the things we spoke about.

“But the emphasis was on keeping the belief in the group, and moving on from this game.

“It’s not about radically changing the team at this stage of the season - that’s not the answer.

“We will sit down and work through it, and get on the training ground. It is only fine lines that need improvement.

“We have to keep that belief and confidence, ahead of what is a great game against one of our rivals.

“There’ll be a great atmosphere at Bramall Lane, so there’s no better opportunity to bounce back.

“If we can get three points, the place will be banging again and we’re suddenly right back into it.”

Wilson was encouraged by the return of Ryan Flynn from injury, on the right wing.

Flynn caused problems for Crawley left back Matt Sadler all evening, and came close to opening the scoring in the first half when his angled shot struck Paul Jones’ right-hand post and rebounded to safety.

United captain Michael Doyle also struck the Crawley upright in the second half, before mistakes from centre halves Neill Collins and Harry Maguire gifted Billy Clarke and Paul Hayes easy finishes.

“I’m glad Ryan came back,” Wilson said.

“We thought it was the right type of game for him to make a comeback, and he did some great stuff.

“He caused quite a few problems for their defenders, and hopefully he’ll be ready for Saturday.”

Ahead of the visit of Kevin MacDonald’s Swindon, however, Wilson must try to address his side’s lack of goals.

Loanee Jonathan Forte was again ineffectual against Crawley, and his substitution was greeted by ironic cheers from sections of the Bramall Lane crowd.

Chris Porter, his replacement, became United’s main attacking threat alongside Dave Kitson, while Joey Ironside could also be considered for a full debut.

Trialist Jordan Robertson scored his second goal for United’s U21s against Leeds in midweek.

Swindon’s 2-0 defeat on Tuesday, to MK Dons, saw United remain fifth after the Crawley loss. They still remain eight points behind leaders Doncaster Rovers, after they too lost 2-0 at home to Carlisle.

Brentford are a point ahead of United in fourth, level on points with third-placed Yeovil Town.

n Will United go up? Tweet Danny your views on Twitter: @dannyhall04.