Sheffield United v Swindon: Scougall is on a mission to earn new deal with Blades

On the ball: Stefan Scougall is already halfway towards his target of 10 goals for the Blades this season.
On the ball: Stefan Scougall is already halfway towards his target of 10 goals for the Blades this season.
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Stefan Scougall is hoping he can help Sheffield United win promotion and earn himself a new Blades deal.

The Scottish forward looked like he was leaving Bramall Lane in the summer, after falling out of favour under previous manager Nigel Adkins.

He spent the end of last season plying his trade at footballing outpost Fleetwood Town, and the future looked bleak.

But new chief Chris Wilder offered him the chance to resurrect his Blades career and Scougall has grasped the second chance.

The 24-year-old’s fine form – including a run of four goals in five outings – helped United embark on a 15-game unbeaten run in League One.

That sequence of results has stalled recently, United having not won their last three games, but optimism is still high for third-placed Blades. “I felt my time was up in the summer, but the manager came in and gave me my chance,” said Edinburgh-born Scougall.

“I think I have repaid him and, hopefully, can continue to do that for the rest of the season.

“My contract ends this season so we will see in the next couple of months where it (my future) lies.

“We will have to wait and see. I love it here, but in football you never know what is round the corner.

“I will just keep doing my best for the club, until either a contract is offered, or not.

“There’s a lot of games this month, over Christmas, and teams may drop points. If we have got a fully fit squad, we can pick up maximum points.

“We have not won our last two, but we are confident we can go on a run again. Three of our next four games are at home, so the home form is crucial.”

United have suffered back-to-back defeats against Walsall in the league, and at Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup last Sunday.

Bolton sit just above United in the table – Scunthorpe United are the leaders – and Scougall knows it will be a battle with their Roses rivals for automatic promotion. “It’s not nice to get beat and go out of the FA Cup, but I thought the performance was not too bad,” said the former Livingston forward.

“It wasn’t one of the worst we have had this season, we just didn’t quite get the result.

“Bolton are a good side and will be up there at the end of the season, along with ourselves.

“It’s just down to us to go on a good run again. I am enjoying it here, I have been playing and scoring recently so, hopefully, I can continue that this weekend.

“Hopefully, I can kick on and reach double figures, which is my goal each season, and I am halfway there already.”

Next month marks the three-year anniversary since Scougall arrived in South Yorkshire.

Each season the Blades have been one of the favourites for promotion, but ended up disappointed. Scougall believes this season is different, and credits manager Wilder’s work at rebuilding the bond between players and supporters as the key.

“Every player’s goal is to get a promotion on their CV, so, hopefully, I can do it here,” he said.

“I have been here for nearly three years now so, hopefully, this is the time we can get promoted.

“There is a different feeling here (at the club), but there’s probably a lot of different factors why. The management team have brought a feelgood factor to the club, a togetherness between the players and coaching staff.

“They have also brought back a togetherness between the fans and players, which has been crucial.”

United’s FA Cup exit at Bolton, means the league is their one remaining target this season.

While United have enjoyed some super Cup runs in recent years, Wilder believes promotion out of League One has to be their priority.

“We all love a cup run, we understand that,” said lifelong Blades fan Wilder. “Like the supporters, I’ve been watching from the stands the fantastic cup runs we’ve had in the past years.

“But I think everyone will recognise this club has been in this league far too long.

“The absolute, 100 per cent priority is to get out of the division. There’s no shying away from it.

“I’m not going to sit and say ‘if we make the play-offs’ or ‘we’re a young team and it’ll take time’.

“We’re not given that here because they expect and rightly so.

“We’ve got the players that mean we should be looking to get out of the division.

“It’s full focus on the league campaign now and I’m quite happy now that we haven’t got anything else.”