Mutual respect key to Blades keeping it tight

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DANNY WILSON is keen to share out the plaudits for Sheffield United’s stingy run of over nine hours without conceding a goal around his whole team.

The second-placed Blades’ impregnable recent form has been buttressed by resolute defending and Wilson’s troops will equal a club record of seven league clean sheets in a row if they record another shut-out at struggling Stevenage this afternoon.

That was last achieved 42 years ago in 1970-71 when John Harris’s side clinched promotion to the top-flight with cast-iron defence having similarly been the cornerstone to the present-day Blades’ attempts to go up.

On the run of 542 minutes without conceding a goal since late on in the 2-1 win at Shrewsbury on February 9, manager Wilson said: “It is terrific and the lads deserve the credit; they have been absolutely fantastic from front to back. The principles of defending have been very good.

“But it is not just the defenders and they would be the first ones to say. Dave Kitson has headed balls away from underneath our bar defending, while I have seen Jamie (Murphy) and Ryan (Flynn) chasing back and covering our full-backs, for example. When a good team is going well, that is what happens and it is the respect that they have for each other.”

Part of the reasons for the Blades’ parsimonious statistics all season has been the continuity of selection, although two of Wilson’s mainstays in full-back Tony McMahon and central midfield man Kevin McDonald are walking a suspension tightrope – with both just one booking away from an automatic two-match ban having accrued nine cautions.

While Wilson is keeping his fingers crossed that they avoid suspension, he has faith in his squad to cope if they do.

He said: “I don’t think players bother about it at all. Tony McMahon was in the mix with everything on Saturday and he didn’t think about things twice. I think us on the side think about it more than them.

“They just have to get on with it. You just do not know what one referee deems a booking and what another one does. Hopefully, if it does happen, we have the players at this club who could replace them short-term.”