Porter determined to battle to the bitter end

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CHRIS PORTER insists Sheffield United have not given up on automatic promotion just yet.

The Blades head south to relegated Portsmouth today trailing second-placed Bournemouth by five points.

However, whereas Eddie Howe’s Cherries have two games to play, United have three –meaning the picture at the top of League One could look very different by 5pm if the results go in the favour of Chris Morgan’s men.

Central to that hope, of course, is an away win at Fratton Park and Porter, restored to the line-up since Morgan succeeded Danny Wilson earlier this month, is adamant United can avoid the play-off route back to the Championship.

He said: “Going straight up is still a definite possibility. In this division, you can never rule anything out and we are still in a great position.

“We are all positive about the run-in and one of the reasons for that is because we want it so much. Another is the fact that there is a definite chance the teams above us are going to drop points.

“Bournemouth have been on a tremendous run, but they are due a bit of a wobble. Brentford play leaders Doncaster Rovers on the final day and so someone, possibly both, are definitely going to drop points there.

“What we have got to do is win all our remaining games and make sure we are in a position to take advantage should that happen. There is no reason why it won’t.”

As the Blades take on Pompey today, Bournemouth host Carlisle while Brentford travel to Hartlepool for a tea-time kick-off.

United are then the only side in the top 10 to have a game in midweek – they travel to Crewe – before the final day sees Brentford host Doncaster, Bournemouth go to Tranmere and the Blades taking on Preston North End at Bramall Lane.

Porter said: “Brentford are going to be without some important players due to suspension. We put so much into the Swindon game that I think it definitely had an effect during the early stages of Tuesday’s match (when United drew 2-2 with the Bees). Brentford put so much into that match against us, there is a definite possibility it will have the same effect on them.

“We are used to playing in front of big crowds because we do it every week at our place. So that is not going to bother us, we’re just concentrating on our game.

“In any case, we have got lots of experienced lads in the team who have been in these situations before. I enjoy the pressure. You would much rather be playing in front of a big crowd rather than a handful of people, surely?”