Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, has ordered his players to fight fire with fire at Stevenage this afternoon, writes James Shield.
United, who expect to have Stephen McGinn available for selection after the midfielder recovered from a hamstring complaint, arrived in Hertfordshire last night intent on stretching their unbeaten run to six games.
With Graham Westley’s side only two points behind them in the League One table, today’s contest could have a crucial bearing upon the visitors’ battle to drag themselves clear of the relegation zone and Clough said: “Stevenage is an unforgiving place to play your football and I think they actually enjoy casting themselves as the ‘smaller’ club in situations like this.
“We have to be aware of their strengths but, as always, the main focus must be on what we do ourselves.”
United, ranked 19th, are unlikely to make numerous changes at The Lamex Stadium after Clough, who praised defender Terry Kennedy’s recent performances for the under-21’s, used his pre-match media briefing to promote the benefits of a settled squad.
“We don’t want to make too many because it’s very important to have a nucleus of about eight or nine people, it’s important to get that consistency,” Clough said. “Nothing drains confidence like a defeat but, little by little, that collective belief seems to be coming back into the dressing room.”