Jose Baxter has vowed to put friendship aside when Tranmere Rovers visit Bramall Lane tomorrow, writes James Shield.
The Sheffield United attacker counts members of Ronnie Moore’s squad as some of his closest pals in football but aims to show them no mercy when the South Yorkshire attempts to stretch its unbeaten run to eight games.
“I know quite a few of the Tranmere lads,” Baxter, who was born in nearby Bootle, said. “James Wallace is one of my best mates and I get on really well with their striker Ryan Lowe, who is flying at the moment, too.
“But that won’t count for anything here and they’ll tell you the same thing too.
“League One is a tough division. You’ve got to be ready to dig deep, take kicks and be willing to get hurt to score a goal.”
Baxter scored his sixth of the season and third in only four outings when United drew with Oldham Athletic on Boxing Day.
That result, coupled with Rovers’ victory at Shrewsbury Town, left Nigel Clough’s side one place and three points above the relegation zone but searching for only their fifth home win since August.
Clough, who was appointed in October, has challenged his team to improve that record and Baxter said: “We’re working hard on becoming tough to beat but also on scoring more goals.
“When we do achieve that then I definitely think we’ll start getting closer to where we want to be.
“The gaffer has come in and he’s very big on working hard but, at the same time, he also makes sure everything is really enjoyable.
“That’s why the lads are buzzing behind the scenes at the moment.”