Matt Done has revealed a siege mentality is developing among Sheffield United’s first-team squad following criticism of their promotion credentials.
Nigel Clough’s side are fifth in the League One table - possibly requiring only a point from two games to secure a League One play-off place - after drawing with Bradford City at the weekend.
United prepared for the match, Cloughs 100th since being appointed 18 months ago, knowing a shock defeat at Yeovil Town four days earlier had prompted some observers to dismiss their chances of reaching the Championship next season.
But Done told The Star: “When you’ve got people writing you off, then it’s a great feeling to prove them wrong. If you ever get written off then you’ve got to take it up for the sake of yourself and your family to show that’s not the case.
“We’ve had a few tough times but we dust ourselves down and go again. You always get sticky patches during the course of your career, no matter what you do, but we know we’ve got a great set of lads here and a great staff.
“That’s why, no matter what, we always stick together as a group.”
United took the lead against City, who finished the game with 10 men following Rory McArdle’s 90th-minute dismissal, through Jason Holt before Billy Clarke equalised. Terry Kennedy was substituted at half-time due to a knee injury.
United’s top-six status could be confirmed if Rochdale fail to beat Leyton Orient tomorrow and Clough said: “We were five minutes away from confirming our place but now we have to wait until Tuesday or Saturday. It was a scruffy goal from our point of view, a daft free-kick to give away. and that allowed Bradford to throw everyone forward.”
United contest their penultimate fixture of the campaign at Orient on Saturday and Done, a February signing from Rochdale, added: “I know there are going to be pressure games. But it’s a pressure you’ve got thrive on.
“There is never an ‘off game’ here. The higher you go, every game is a pressure game, and that’s something the gaffer has spoken to us about.
“But you become a professional player to be involved in these games. You grow up and want to play in front of 20,000.
“If we can go in and sell out Bramall Lane in the play-offs then that’s what we want to be involved in, every single one of us.”