Lowton braced for test of United’s character

MATT Lowton says today’s trip to Stevenage will be a test of character for Sheffield United.

The Hertfordshire club have been dubbed ‘the new Crazy Gang’ after employing Wimbledon-style tactics to secure back-to-back promotions in the last two seasons.

Manager Graham Westley makes no apologies for his footballing philosophy and his side are again involved in a push for the play-offs.

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Blades defender Lowton said: “If it works for them, go with it. They haven’t changed what got them promoted last season and if their manager thinks that it is the way forward then they will keep playing in that manner. Their way of going about things is certainly a lot different from how we play but we have got to be ready for it and we will be.

“It’s important that we stay calm and do nothing stupid,” he added. “It will be a test of character for us and we know we are in for a battle. We are ready for whatever they throw at us. The gaffer has made us aware of the reputation they have for being a physical team who are not averse to a bit of gamesmanship.”

Lowton says it will only make the Blades more dangerous should Stevenage set out to try and wind them up.

“If they start dishing out the verbals, we can cope with that,” he said. “If they want a slanging match, lads like Richard Cresswell are certainly up for that. To be perfectly honest, if an opponent starts chatting to me it just gets me up for the game even more. If they are doing that or kicking me it makes me want to beat them even more.”

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Striker Billy Clarke and winger Matt Phillips play their final league game for the Blades and are set to return to parent club Blackpool after Tuesday’s JP Trophy tie with Bradford City.

Although Blades manager Danny Wilson is keen to keep the duo, Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has stated publically that they have a role to play at Bloomfield Road.

The loss of Phillips will be offset by the return of winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing from Wolves.

Mendez-Laing has been back at Molineux for the last month having treatment on a hamstring injury but his loan deal does not expire until the New Year.