Cushion is welcomed by Clough ahead of the final stretch

Sheffield United's Stefan Scougall is continuing his recovery from injury. 'Picture: Martyn Harrison.
Sheffield United's Stefan Scougall is continuing his recovery from injury. 'Picture: Martyn Harrison.
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NIGEL CLOUGH admits only time will tell if Sheffield United’s five-point cushion on the play-off chasing pack is going to prove decisive.

The Blades are looking forward to a derby double-header over Easter with Saturday bringing a trip to in-form Barnsley, three days before Paul Dickov’s Doncaster Rovers head to Bramall Lane.

With both the Reds and Rovers hoping to reel near-neighbours United back towards the rest of the top six hopefuls, it promises to be a captivating holiday period.

Clough’s side may have been disappointed to lose their last outing at home to struggling Crewe Alexandra but they remain handily-placed in the table.

With the top four teams having left the chasing pack behind them some weeks ago, two play-off berths are up for grabs with up to 10 sides still hoping to stake a claim between now and the end of the campaign.

United are five points clear of seventh place with seven games to go but Clough insists there is still plenty of work to do.

He said: “I keep getting asked if a five point cushion is enough, but we don’t know if it’s enough yet.

“We hope it is enough but the main thing is it is still in our hands to make sure it is enough. That is important.

“Losing to Crewe was disappointing but last week we still took six points from our three games.

“If we can win three or four games, someone else has got to win five or six from seven to go past us.

“So, it is a good cushion because people need to win a couple of games to get past us, and that is thanks to our goal difference.

“But we still have to win a few of our games to get into the top six.”

Stefan Scougall continues his recovery from a knee injury that has kept the Scot out for two months.

The 22-year-old, who damaged his anterior cruciate ligament in United’s FA Cup replay defeat at home to Preston North End in the early part of February, played an hour for the Under-21s recently and has reported no ill-effects.

Jay McEveley and Louis Reed, meanwhile, are also nearing a return after spells out through injury.