Experienced pair Michael Doyle and Neill Collins responded with anticipated professionalism after both were left out of Sheffield United’s first two league games of the campaign.
They were on the bench for the encounters with Bristol City and Coventry, but have returned to the starting fold since and played their part in the club’s last three matches, which have all ended in wins, the last one coming via penalties in a thrilling Capital One Cup shock at West Ham.
Of their previous omission, Blades’ manager Nigel Clough said: “Nobody is guaranteed a place even now and in the next eight months.
“If anybody is left out, they can do one or two things; sulk about it or work hard to get back in the team and when you do get back in, you take your chance.”
Mindful that the Blades have a two-week break from action after today, Clough is calling on his side to leave nothing in the tank as they attempt to add to the momentum built by their last three matches.
Clough, eager to avoid an ‘After the Lord Mayor’s show’ performance at Deepdale today, a venue where they drew 0-0 in front of the Sky cameras last season, said: “There’s a real buzz around the place.
“It is nice to get over those first couple of losses and put those behind us and move on. Preston will be as hard as we will face all season.
“But we have got a two-week break after it, so we will be asking the lads to give everything that they have got and every ounce of effort they have before we have the break.”
Clough, who this week revealed that he is no great fan of transfer windows, has his eyes on three to four targets before the deadline on Monday evening, including a striker.