Clough is expecting a battle at troubled Orient

0
Have your say

NIGEL CLOUGH is calling on Sheffield United to reproduce their Easter highs at Oakwell to nail down their League One play-off place on Saturday.

Just as they did on April 4, the Blades, in fifth place and needing one more point to confirm a top-six finish, face desperate hosts this weekend in the shape of Leyton Orient.

While Barnsley were hankering for victory to propel their play-off drive and put pressure on the Blades, the O’s are attempting to realise a safety mission with the Londoners entrenched in a relegation dogfight.

Clough’s side stood up tall in front of a parochial home crowd with a 2-0 win on Easter Saturday and the Blades chief says that represents the template to follow.

He said: “Certainly they will be anxious and desperate for a win. How that manifests itself, you are never quite sure.

“Is it going to a nervy thing? We are expecting them to be fighting and scrapping for everything certainly.

“We have got to detach ourselves from all that, like we did at Barnsley when we put in a good solid performance.

“That’s a good analogy as although it is not a derby, it is going to be the sort of game with a home side desperate for a win.

Barnsley were trying to catch us in the play-offs, while Orient are trying to stay in the league. It will be a similar sort of situation.”

Clough is likely to adopt a pragmatic approach to selection and is unlikely to gamble on the fitness of several players with the play-offs on the horizon.

While United need a point to be mathematically sure of extending their season, they will be confirmed in the top six if they lose and Rochdale don’t beat MK Dons.

That said, Clough is not taking anything for granted and says his side will be going out with the mindset of winning the game.

He added: “You can’t play for the point, we have to be positive and go for the win. You can’t play for draws.

“We have to be positive, similar to how we were at Barnsley.

“We will be doing everything to get a result on Saturday, irrespective of what goes on at Rochdale.

“We can’t rely on them, we have all seen freakish results in football. I fancied them to beat Orient (on Tuesday) and even with the form MK Dons are in, you wouldn’t bet against them (Rochdale) winning again.

“We have just got to take care of our own business and make sure we get a result.”