Mark Duffy has claimed Sheffield United are yet to achieve their full potential despite opening-up at five point lead at the top of League One.
Chris Wilder’s side face third-placed Bolton Wanderers this afternoon hoping to avenge their defeat at the Macron Stadium on the opening day of the season.
But Duffy, who is looking to win back to back promotions after helping Burton Albion finish reach the Championship last term, said: “This is a totally different side now to the opening day. I think even they (Bolton) would admit that. We basically gave the rest of the league a four game headstart.
“But because it was such a new team, it does take time to gel together. It’s gone from strength to strength and, between now and the end of the season, I think it will keep getting better. We’ve added more quality with the lads coming in and I think that bodes well.”
United signed James Hanson, Jay O’Shea, Samir Carruthers and Joe Riley during the recent transfer window although the latter will miss today’s game after dislocating a shoulder during training. Wanderers also edged home when the two clubs met in the FA Cup two months ago but Duffy dismissed suggestions their recent successes will give the visitors a psychological edge.
“They’ve beat us twice this year and it’s not nice to get beat by anyone,” he continued. “It’s weird, because in both games I think we’ve dominated possession but they’ve done what they’ve done.
“They’ve got it forward early and up to (Gary) Madine who, to be fair, is good at what he does. They try and cause panic that way. They’re a good team but hopefully it will be a good day for us.”
United drew 1-1 with second-placed Scunthorpe last weekend but Duffy, despite describing their performance as “unbelievable”, admitted: “Obviously Bolton is coming up and there’s no getting away from it, it’s a big game. Looking back, I thought we were unbelievable against Scunthorpe.
“I had a massive chance early on and, if I’d have taken that, then I think the outcome would have been different. If we’d have taken those chances, and they weren’t half chances, they were really good chances, Scunthorpe would have had to come out at us which they didn’t want to do. We’ll learn from it and I’ll hold my hands-up and take responsibility for missing it.”
“You’ve got to take responsibility,” Duffy added. “I didn’t have too much sleep afterwards to be honest, I kept playing it over in my head. The first thing I did on Monday was say, after training, that I want to work on my finishing because it’s an area where I need to improve. I’m due a goal.”