Buoyant Blades ready for play-off challenge

NIGEL CLOUGH today insisted the mood inside the Sheffield United camp is “buoyant” going into the League One play-off semi-finals.

Nigel Clough

The Blades, after finishing fifth in the table, host Swindon Town on Thursday night before heading to Wiltshire for the return on Monday.

United are desperate to end a hoodoo in the end of season promotion deciders with seven previous attempts having ended in defeat, either in the semi-final or final.

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Clough said: “I sense the mood is buoyant. The Barnsley and Doncaster wins over Easter put us in a position where it would take a set of circumstances not to get in there.

“When the players have looked ahead, the two legs have been what matters. we are in pretty good shape, physically and mentally.

“We have had a lot of games this season but we have forget that now. We prepare just the same as all season. Everything stays the same and low key.

“We don’t want anyone too nervous. Everyone understands the importance so we just get on with things.”

Jamie Murphy will be among the players returning to the starting XI against Swindon after being left out of the final day draw at home to Chesterfield.

Clough revealed after that 1-1 stalemate that he already had the likely line-up in his mind.

Despite that, the United manager is also keen to stress that anyone - including Jamal Campbell-Ryce, newly-returned from a loan spell with Notts County - has the chance to emerge as the hero in the play-offs.

Clough added: “Even outside the 18 there is a chance for someone. Jamal is back and might not make the 18 but he is in the squad. Everyone has a role to play.

“Jamal has had a knock to his knee and in light training but he is in the squad.”