Dean Hammond, the Sheffield United midfielder, has made no attempt to downplay the significance of tomorrow’s game against Wigan Athletic.
Nigel Adkins’ side enter the fixture in ninth place, two points behind the League One play-off positions and trailing the visitors by 10.
Hammond, a veteran of promotion winning seasons with both Southampton and Leicester City, said: “We’ve got lots of games coming-up with the teams above us and we know we’ve got to win most of them to bridge that gap. We’ve got most of those teams to play and we know what we’ve got to do.
“We want to put a run together, we’re striving to do that and we’re confident we can do it too. If we do then, because of the schedule we’ve got coming-up, you’d think it would make a big dent in that. Things can change, for good or bad, very quickly but there’s a good positive attitude among the lads.”
Adkins, speaking at the Steelphalt Academy yesterday, acknowledged the table made frustrating reading for players, supporters and coaching staff alike. But reflecting on his spell in charge at St Mary’s, where he delivered top-flight football two seasons after taking charge of a club in the third tier, emphasised the importance of self-control.
“Where we are doesn’t faze us because we’ve been here before. We know all about course and distance, about keeping a steady head.”
Hammond, on loan from City, echoed those sentiments, saying: “It’s vital to take things on a game by game basis. It might sound boring but it’s true. This is a good group and it’s a tight group which is a really positive sign. If you don’t have that, you won’t last the race.
“What we are concentrating on is driving forward and driving the club forward too.”