John Lundstram has revealed how Sheffield United’s performances against two of the most dangerous teams in the division have left him absolutely convinced they can reach the Championship play-offs.
Despite being held to a draw by both Brentford and Cardiff City, who snatched a last gasp equaliser during Monday’s game at Bramall Lane, Chris Wilder’s side enter Saturday’s derby against Barnsley only a point behind the top six with half a dozen games remaining.
Although United’s manager admitted to being “heartbroken” by those results, Lundstram insisted the football they produced at Griffin Park before dominating Neil Warnock’s second-placed side has reaffirmed the team’s belief in its top-flight potential.
“It was hard to take but we’ve just got to clear our heads,” the United midfielder said. “The belief is massive, it doesn’t need me to say that, you can see it in the performances. Brentford, after Fulham and Wolves, are probably the best footballing team in the division. Cardiff have been beating everybody. We should have beaten them both.”
Barnsley, managed by former Chelsea assistant José Morais, are five points from safety after winning only one of their last 13 league games.
Despite warning “derbies are never easy, they’ll be right up for it as well,” Lundstram admitted Wilder’s players have been inspired by the news that around 5,000 United supporters are making the journey to Oakwell.
“It does give us a lift,” he said. “I’ve seen on social media how many are coming. It’s massive, absolutely massive. When you hear how up for it the fans are, when you see how up for it they are, that automatically gives you a lift.”
With Mark Duffy set to return from injury, Lundstram hopes his recent form will persuade Wilder to name him in the starting eleven against Barnsley.
“We’ve got to try and stamp out authority on this early on,” he added. “They will be desperate for the points and we are desperate for them too.”