Billy Sharp wants Sheffield United to invoke the spirit of last season’s play-off encounter against Swindon Town when they renew their rivalry with Mark Cooper’s side tomorrow, writes James Shield.
Sharp, the former Leeds and Southampton centre-forward, was an interested observer when United drew 5-5 at the County Ground three months ago.
Although the result - after the hosts had taken a 3-0 lead in the 18th minute - condemned them to a 7-6 aggregate defeat, Sharp said: “Even at Swindon, the lads showed great character to come back when everybody thought they were dead and buried. They were unlucky in a way but if we can show that character from the start and take the lead in games then that should stand us in good stead.
“I was away at the time of that one but I was watching. Sheffield United never do well in the play-off though so, this time, we need to miss them out.”
Sharp, a lifelong United supporter, scored his first goal since returning to Bramall Lane during last weekend’s victory over Blackpool. The result lifted United, now managed by Nigel Adkins, to fourth in the table. Swindon, who were beaten at Wembley by Preston North End, are sixth.
“I’m a fan, I’ve always been a fan. Even when I left I wanted them to do well. That’s what being a fan is,” Sharp said. “We should be higher than we are as a team and I’ve got the opportunity now to work and try and make that happen.
“Listen, if you can guarantee winning at Wembley then it’s a great way (of achieving promotion). But the best way, the best feeling, is to be winners of the league. There’s nothing better than that.
“There will be five or six teams who feel they can do it and we’re definitely one of them.”