Stefan Scougall has warned Sheffield United must learn to seize control of games or risk being dragged into a series of League One dogfights.
But the midfielder, who admitted to being frustrated by his failure to command a regular place in manager Nigel Adkins’ squad, insisted Tuesday’s 5-1 demolition of Notts County proves they possess the firepower to overwhelm opponents as the race for promotion gathers pace.
United enter this afternoon’s game against Rochdale having fallen behind in four of their last seven outings and Scougall told The Star: “We need to have a fast start in every single game. Teams are coming up against us, especially here at Bramall Lane, and looking to sit behind the ball but if we can score early then it makes things much more open. We can relax and hit them. When you are relaxed, you play better and the home fans don’t get anxious which is understandable.”
Scougall was on target as United reached the third round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in midweek.
“The way we play, there’s always going to be a lot of goals scored and chances created,” he said. “If I get out there on the pitch then hopefully I can help that. The gaffer wants us to play fast, attacking football. We’ve shown that in spells and other times not but hopefully we can take the confidence from the JPT into the Rochdale performance.”
“We’ve got a big squad and that game was my chance to put a wee marker down and show him I should be in every weekend,” Scougall added. “No one is ever really happy when they’re not playing or in the squad so, when you do get a chance, you’ve got to prove a point.
“It’s up to us as individuals to state our case and hopefully I’ve done that. I’ve missed out on being in the squad on a few occasions recently, there’s a lot of competition, but I’m aiming to be in there every week. Every single player here will tell you the same thing.”
Adkins has also called for United to impose themselves on opponents although, speaking ahead of the meeting with Keith Hill’s side, he conceded they could not afford to be reckless.
“We view every game on its merits,” Adkins said. “That’s what we’ve done all the way through.
“The expectation on us, and rightly so, it that we expect to win every game of football. We give respect to everybody, however, that’s what we need to do because there are no given rights.”