Jay McEveley has warned Sheffield United must risk upsetting their own supporters in order to revive the club’s ailing challenge for promotion.
A disappointing sequence of results, including four defeats in seven League One outings, has left Nigel Adkins’ side six points behind the play-off positions with only 11 matches remaining.
Having slipped to 12th in the table following last weekend’s draw at Fleetwood Town, United enter tomorrow’s game against Oldham Athletic under increasing scrutiny but McEveley told The Star: “Unfortunately, we have to say things at times which people don’t want to hear. That’s because, understandably, they want to say what about the last game or the one before that.
“But we can’t be like that, we can’t do that or be distracted by it. Otherwise, we’d always be looking backwards and not forwards.
“If you do that then you can’t put anything right. It’s not something, as professional footballers, we can afford to do.”
McEveley, United’s captain, faces a race against time to declare himself eligible for selection after undergoing treatment for injury. Leading goalscorer Billy Sharp is expected to feature after also missing the visit to Highbury due to illness. Midfielder Florent Cuvelier remains a doubt while Martyn Woolford, Stefan Scougall and Kieran Wallace are poised to miss-out due to fitness concerns.
Although McEveley conceded United could incur the fans’ wrath by adopting such a sanguine approach, he cautioned against interpreting that as sign Adkins’ squad lacks determination or desire.
“We don’t brush anything under the carpet,” McEveley said. “We talk, we watch videos and we analyse everything to identify areas where we can improve and do things better.
“We care about what we do, we care about ourselves, each other and most importantly the club. We work hard and will be giving everything.”