THERE was an air of finality about Sheffield United’s season following the midweek defeat at Southend United in front of the live Sky cameras.
With good cause, too.
Even ahead of kick-off, the clash felt like a knockout decider for the two clubs thanks to the likes of Barnsley, Bradford City and Millwall all enjoying victories on Easter Monday.
Southend’s win means they head into the weekend sitting eighth, and six points adrift of Phil Parkinson’s Bantams in the final play-off berth.
The Blades, meanwhile, are nine points behind their West Yorkshire rivals and surely destined for at least one more year in the third tier.
“The way it stands now, it is well out of our hands,” admitted Ryan Flynn when asked about the promotion race in League One.
“But we have two home games coming up and that is what we have to concentrate on.
“Tough games and we need to make sure we put a performance in. We need to please the supporters. They travel all over the country and always give us their backing.”
Walsall, today’s visitors, are very much still in the race for automatic promotion, as are Gillingham – next week’s opponents for Nigel Adkins’s men at Bramall Lane.
These two fixtures can only bring home the fact United have made such a hash of this term’s challenge.
“It has been a disappointing season,” said Flynn. “You can’t escape from that. Our position in the league is terrible for a club of this stature. We have to put that right. We have a game this Saturday and that is probably a good thing.
“I am delighted we have a game on Saturday after the disappointment of Wednesday night’s result. I am looking forward to the game.”