David Edgar has called upon his Sheffield United team-mates to focus on themselves and the damage they can do ahead of today’s game against Rochdale.
It has not been an ideal season for the Blades, who were tipped for automatic promotion in pre-season but currently find themselves eighth, four points away from the last play-off place.
A 1-0 defeat against Bury seemed to be the nadir, with fans openly rebelling against the team’s performance. Concerns grew as a result of their display that a return to the Championship may not be a possibility.
However, United bounced back against Port Vale on Saturday, winning 1-0, and Edgar admitted the week, which included a victory against Doncaster Rovers, was positive overall.
He said: “We’ve seen bits and pieces of Rochdale; they have good footballers in the team, but really the game’s about us and the way we go about our business.
“We have to approach it in the right manner.
“We got six points in the week. It was a difficult night for us and the fans at Bury, but you just have to move on to the next game.
“It was nice to come away (from the Port Vale game) with a clean sheet, we take the positives from that and we take them into Rochdale.”
The Kitchener, Ontario-born Edgar counts National Hockey League legend Wayne Gretzky among his sporting heroes. For a team that has struggled to put a run together this campaign, the former Edmonton Oilers star could offer guiding inspiration – he scored over 100 points in 16 professional seasons, 14 of them in a row.
Edgar revealed that the spirit around United has changed since their win against Vale, and while he believes the squad has the players to succeed, he senses it is time to start churning out wins.
“I think there is a very good feel about the place right now,” he said.
“After Port Vale you can sense the different feel. We are just excited about getting out there as soon as possible. We have a busy week and the games come thick and fast.
“We have just been inconsistent at times, obviously. It is about the ability in the squad as a whole, and that is second to none, it’s just about being consistent week-in and week-out, Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday.
“Putting a run together, you don’t know what can happen, so we are looking to start that again now.”
One fear for Nigel Adkins’s team is that they will not be able to break into the play-off pack. The Blades are reliant upon such as Coventry dropping points between now and the end of the season, but they also need wins to ensure they can keep the pressure up.
By next Saturday the Blades will have also faced high-flying Burton Albion, with Fleetwood Town only just around the corner.
Edgar is clearly trying not to think that far ahead, but said: “We can sit here looking to get nine points next week.
“That’s the goal right now, but we have to look at it one game at a time, but it is a big week and we want to take maximum points.
“It might not be make or break, but it can determine how we go on for the rest of the season.
“We don’t want to get a gap going.
“It’s the old cliche and I know we have said it a few times, but we just want to get three points, keep climbing up and keep the consistency going.”
Part of the improvement against the Valiants came after a change of shape. The Blades played a 3-5-2 formation, one which Edgar clearly felt helped their display.
It also allowed a few players on the fringes to come back into the side, and the 28-year-old felt that showed the strength in depth that the squad possesses.
Asked about the new set-up, the ex-Newcastle United man said: “It just helps, especially last weekend, getting the ball more and dictating the play rather than letting the other team dictate the play.
“We have tweaked a few things and I thought it seemed to work very well. We were quite comfortable and we will have to see where it goes from there.”
Speaking about the strength of the squad, Edgar continued: “You have players that work hard day-in, day-out on the training pitch and they have waited for their chance.
“They have come in and done well, and deserved to keep the shirt. We have players that can come on and make a difference, it’s an excellent squad.
“We just have to keep fighting for the shirt and fighting for the badge, because we are all in it together.”