Stephen McGinn admits Sheffield United’s players must rediscover their ruthless streak or risk undermining the club’s battle for League One survival, writes James Shield.
Nigel Clough’s side enter tomorrow’s Yorkshire derby against Bradford City 19th in the table and having surrendered a lead in each of their previous three games.
McGinn, who by his own admission was guilty of an “awful” miss during last weekend’s defeat at Notts County, said: “We’re starting matches really well but we’ve got to see them through. That’s something we’ve spoken about this week with the manager and also amongst ourselves.
“But, even though we did get beaten by County, the good thing is that we’re still in a really confident mood. There’s a good feeling around the place.”
United were unbeaten in eight outings before their controversial defeat at Walsall on New Year’s Day. Having responded by knocking Aston Villa out of the FA Cup, Clough’s charges were brought back down to earth when goals from Enoch Showunmi and Mark Fotheringham cancelled-out Conor Coady’s opener at Meadow Lane.
United lost nine of their opening 13 fixtures this season before Clough’s appointment in October. One of those occurred at Valley Parade in August but Nahki Wells, who scored both of City’s efforts, has since joined Huddersfield Town.
“Maybe with the start we had we’ve tried to protect leads a bit rather than just go for it,” McGinn said. “But we’re a more settled team now than we were back then and that’s definitely helped.”
United, as Clough confirmed on Wednesday, have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the meeting with City.
Aaron McLean, the former Peterborough centre-forward, is expected to feature for the visitors after monies raised from the sale of Wells were used to acquire his services from Hull City.
Phil Parkinson, the City manager, said: “I’m thrilled by the arrival of Aaron. He is someone I have monitored for a while now and he has a proven record at this level.
“Aaron is a fantastic player and he will be a great personality to have around the dressing room. I’m sure he’s going to be an excellent signing for us.”
City, who had monitored Billy Paynter before his move to United, also rewarded Matthew Bates with a contract extension earlier this week after the defender’s solid displays since leaving Bristol City.
Bates, aged 27, has made 13 appearances for Parkinson’s side.
Meanwhile, Florent Cuvelier yesterday completed his much-anticipated move to Port Vale on loan.