Sheffield United: New Blades disciplinary code

Tough line: Defender Marcus Williams says shirkers will not be tolerated as United chase promotion from League One.

Tough line: Defender Marcus Williams says shirkers will not be tolerated as United chase promotion from League One.

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MARCUS Williams has laid bare the extraordinary measures Sheffield United’s players have taken in an effort to restore the club’s Championship status, writes James Shield.

Speaking before this afternoon’s League One clash with Yeovil Town, the full-back revealed his teammates voted to introduce a system of self-imposed punishments and fines during a no-holds-barred meeting at United’s Shirecliffe training complex.

Williams, who is expected to start against the visitors from Huish Park after fellow defender Matt Hill was diagnosed with a fractured jaw, said: “We had a meeting amongst ourselves where we spoke about the need to do everything absolutely right from now on.

“Nobody was slagging anyone else off but we all decided to ‘up’ the fines for things like being late for training, gym sessions and even lunch. Stuff like that.

“It’s for everyone’s benefit. The club, the players, the staff and the supporters because we want to go up.

“We don’t want anything to deflect from that. Nothing at all.”

Williams added: “It’s the second-half of the season now and it’s serious. Everything you do in games starts with your training.

“If your focus isn’t correct in that then it can affect how you play. It all traces back.

“It’s not that anyone has been doing anything wrong. They haven’t.

“But the captain (Michael Doyle) and all the senior pro’s wanted to make sure that stayed the case. That everyone is completely switched on.”

United prepared to entertain Yeovil third in the table and three points behind leaders Tranmere Rovers following a New Year’s Day draw with Doncaster Rovers.

Gary Johnson’s side are 10th but travelled north last night having won three of their previous five games.

Williams, who acknowledged United must address their chequered home form this season to enhance their promotion prospects, said: “We’ve had a good look at what Yeovil like to do, set-pieces and stuff like that, in training. We always leave that until the end of the week.

“But they should also be worried about us. At the end of the day we prefer to focus on ourselves and what we can do because that’s the most important thing.”