Oldham Athletic v Sheffield United: John Fleck anxious to heed lessons from past

John Fleck: Blades player just missed out on play-offs with Coventry after late slump.
John Fleck: Blades player just missed out on play-offs with Coventry after late slump.
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John Fleck knows League One leaders Sheffield United are only “a couple of bad results” from being dragged back into the promotion scrap.

The Blades are 10 points clear of Fleetwood with eight games remaining and odds-on to end a six-year exile from the Championship.

But a cautious Fleck – in the Coventry City side who just missed out on the play-offs last season after a late dip in form – is refusing to celebrate just yet and claims United’s main focus is on today’s trip to strugglers Oldham.

“The mood in the camp is great, the same as it has been for a while now and, hopefully, it will continue this weekend,” said the former Rangers youngster.

“We all know things can change very quickly if you have a couple of bad results, that brings other people into play. Really, we’ve just got to take one game at a time and see where it takes us.

“I think we all understand the fans getting a bit excited. But for us as players and management staff, we all know how it can change. If we lose one or two games on the bounce, it brings us right back down to earth. Then it’s a dogfight, as it is most weeks to be fair. But we’re in a good position right now.”

We all know things can change very quickly if you have a couple of bad results, that brings other people into play.

Sheffield United’s John Fleck

The 25-year-old has been an integral part of Chris Wilder’s Blades side, alongside Paul Coutts in centre of midfield.

Fleck believes playing with the likes of Coutts and top scorer Billy Sharp has helped him develop as a player, too.

“I think I’ve improved as a player but I think there’s also a lot more to come from myself,” he said. “There’s a great squad here and we all want the same thing.

“The quality of player I’m playing with has improved me. Billy just keeps scoring goals and then there’s Couttsy, too. It’s down to the team as a whole.”

United, with just two defeats in their last 18 games, are without full-back Daniel Lafferty today, the defender on international duty with Northern Ireland.

Last six games: Oldham DWLDWD Sheffield United DWDWWW.

Referee: E Ilderton (Tyne and Wear).

Last time: Oldham 1 Sheffield United 1, October 17 2015, League One.