Sheff Utd v Port Vale: Blades told to get on front foot and quickly

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough (Picture: Stephen Pond/PA Wire).
Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough (Picture: Stephen Pond/PA Wire).
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AHEAD of a potentially season-defining week featuring three home games, manager Nigel Clough has urged his Sheffield United side to seize the initiative to keep the club’s play-off push on track.

The Blades are without a win in five games so this flurry of Bramall Lane fixtures offers a great chance to regain some momentum.

Port Vale are today’s visitors, followed by Scunthorpe United on Tuesday and then Crewe Alexandra a week today.

Clough said: “We have three coming up, but it is about getting the three points against Port Vale to give us a platform for the rest of the season.

“Port Vale will come here and battle. That is what they do, probably quite defensively-minded, but it is all about us. We have to be on the front foot and positive.”

United, who lost to Vale in a heated Boxing Day clash, head a long list of sides still hoping to qualify for the play-offs.

Eleven points adrift of MK Dons in fourth place, Clough’s men are fifth on 55 points – five points ahead of Doncaster Rovers in 12th.

The recent disappointing run, therefore, has been a missed opportunity in terms of strengthening United’s grip on a place in the top six.

Clough said: “We can do that (open up a gap on the chasing pack) and that is what we have blown in the last three games.

“Even a couple of draws in the home games would have helped us pull away. They are not must-win (games) because we can still get the play-offs.”

Clough has revealed that Diego De Girolamo’s return from a loan spell with York City to join Northampton Town until the end of the season was the player’s decision.

The Blades chief also confirmed no agreement had been reached over a possible new contract for De Girolamo.