SHEFFIELD UNITED assistant Lee Carsley insists manager David Weir should be judged “at the end of the season, not after two months”.
The Blades have had a dreadful start to the League One season and sit third bottom in the table with just one win from the first 10 games.
Tonight will bring a respite from league action with attention switching to their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy second-round tie.
However, there can be little doubt that United and under-pressure manager Weir are badly in need of a positive result when League Two strugglers Hartlepool United come to Bramall Lane.
Carsley, who like Weir joined the Blades in the summer, is adamant that the tide will soon turn in the club’s season and any judgments made now will prove premature.
The Blades assistant manager said: “We need to be judged at the end of the season, not after two months.
“We are trying to build something sustainable and not something to last for just two to three months.
“We are trying to change the brand of the club and what people are paying to see.
“The manager is a winner. You can see that from his time at Rangers.
“The lads are all on board and they showed that in the second half (against Crawley last Friday night when United came from behind to rescue a point) by upping it 10-15 per cent.”
Marlon King’s second-half equaliser against Crawley was not enough to prevent the home fans heading out into the Sheffield night in dejected mood.
It did, however, end a six-game losing streak in the league and lifted United off the foot of the table.
Even so, with a visit to Coventry City, who sit two points and four places above the Blades, to come on Sunday there can be little doubt that the pressure is on the coaching staff.
Carsley, though, says Weir has been speaking regularly to another manager who struggled in his first job before going on to prosper in the game.
“We speak to David Moyes, the best manager in England, all the time and to have his support is excellent,” said the Blades assistant of Moyes, now manager at Manchester United, whose first seven games in charge of Preston North End brought three draws and four defeats.
“And that is not a bad thing to be judged on, is it?”
On their attempts to change the mindset at Bramall Lane, Carsley added: “There is almost an expectancy here, having lost in the play-offs and in semi-finals, that things will always go wrong.
“We are trying to bring some optimism and change that to positivity.
“We have to do something different to the past because what has been done has got us where we are now.
“We are all fighters. We speak all the time to the managers we have played for. The one thing they all say is, ‘Stick to your beliefs and be judged on those’.”
United are expected to field as near a full-strength team as possible tonight in an attempt to build on what was a much improved second-half display in Friday night’s draw with Crawley.
Carsley said: “A lot of the lads have said they want to play. They feel as if they have got a bit of momentum going so we might let them do it again.
“Drawing at home like we did against Crawley is not ideal, but it put an end to the losses and showed great character. We gave away too much territory and possession early on but we responded.
“Supporters will forgive poor performances but not a lack of effort. We showed that effort in the second half against Crawley.”
For Weir’s part, the United manager is hoping Friday’s second-half performance can prove to be a turning point and draw a line under what has been a desperately disappointing start to the season.
The Scot said: “It needs to be (a line in the sand), because it has been going on for too long. We were in the losing habit and that is a bad, bad habit to have.”
Last six games: Sheffield United DLLLLD, Hartlepool WLWDLW.
Last time: Sheffield United 2 Hartlepool 3; December 29, 2012; League One.
Referee: M Russell (Hertfordshire).