KEVIN McDonald has rubbished claims that a shock defeat at Stevenage earlier this month wrecked Sheffield United’s hopes of securing automatic promotion.
Danny Wilson’s side return to action for the first time since losing to the League One strugglers when they visit Tranmere Rovers later today.
United’s manager, speaking before heavy snow forced last weekend’s game against Brentford to be postponed, accused some critics of deliberately creating an air of negativity around Bramall Lane.
Echoing those sentiments, McDonald said: “We’re not out of the title race. We’re more than in it.
“To hear people saying that’s what has happened is crazy. It’s amazing what you sometimes hear and read.”
Sixth-placed United head to Prenton Park beaten only once in eight outings and with games in hand on all of those above them in the table.
“People are saying that we’re starting to crumble and that’s amazing,” McDonald added. “We’ve lost one game away from home in 10 or something.”
“Okay, what happened at Stevenage wasn’t great. Far from it.
“But how people can complain about all the other matches is beyond me. It really is. We’re raring to go again.”
McDonald’s words will add to the siege mentality surrounding United’s squad as they prepare to face the competition’s fifth-placed team. Wilson, who yesterday claimed Ronnie Moore has performed a “miracle” by transforming Rovers into Championship contenders, hopes that sense of injustice serves his players well as they look to negotiate safe passage out of a division which has been headed by eight different clubs already this term.
With only eight points separating present leaders Doncaster Rovers from Yeovil Town in seventh, McDonald claimed the experience United have accumulated during the last two transfer windows means they are equipped to prevail.
“People like Kits (Dave Kitson) and Robbo (Barry Robson) have been a breath of fresh air,” he said. “You need that little bit of composure they bring at times both on and off the pitch.
“But all of the players we’ve got here, young and old, are mentally strong. To be where we are now after coming back from (losing the play-off final) last year shows we’ve got that mental strength.”
“Look at Harry (Maguire) who is what, 20, and yet has played over 100 games already,” McDonald continued.
“The same goes for people like Ryan Flynn and Jamie Murphy who have been involved in all sorts of different situations.
“The same goes for me. I’ve been at clubs where you are expected to get promotion and I’ve been at places where you are in a relegation battle.
“You need experience and if you’ve got it, like we have, then you’ve got a great chance.”