Sheffield United v Cardiff City: Third time lucky is the motivation for Jayden Bogle

A BIG music fan and Sheffield United's resident dressing-room DJ, Jayden Bogle's favourite song title sums up his experiences at the club over the past 12 months or so.

Or so you would have thought.

His top track - and one which he listens to as motivation ahead of games - is entitled 'Dreams and Nightmares’ by American rapper Meek Mill.

In the present, the former Derby County defender is living the dream as part of a Blades squad who are closing in on promotion to the top-flight - another key step will be taken towards that should they record another victory today against Cardiff City.

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Jayden Bogle.Jayden Bogle.
Jayden Bogle.

Next weekend, an FA Cup semi-final where they have nothing to lose and everything to gain against Manchester City is on the agenda.

As for the nightmare? Well, this time last year, Bogle was on the periphery after suffering a season-ending injury in February 2022 - at a time when the Blades were also pushing for the Premier League and making stories and memories.

The 22-year-old, whose son Zayon was born last year, at least had something else to occupy his attentions during his significant spell away from the first team.

In terms of events on the pitch, Bogle, who underwent surgery after damaging a knee cartilage in a game at Huddersfield Town, watched on as United suffered cruel play-off heartache at the end of the season against Nottingham Forest.

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It followed previous disappointment in his career at previous club Derby County, with Bogle part of the Rams line-up who lost out in the Championship play-off final against Aston Villa in May 2019.

Given those two experiences, promotion via the conventional route this this time around holds infinitely more appeal to the Reading-born player, who is craving a cherished first crack at the Premier League.

On his desire to finish in the top two and avoid the play-offs, Bogle said: "One hundred per cent. I have been there twice now.

"I don't watch them back and just try and get on with it and use that as motivation to change it next time.

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"I'd rather not have a third time and it be an automatic spot. It's in our hands, but the job is nowhere near done yet until yet. We need to pick up some massive points.

"When you are younger, you dream of being a Premier League and once you get there, you want to be one for as long as possible.

"That's every kid's dream to play in the Premier League week in week out for as long as possible."

This time last year, Bogle was embarking on the long road back to full fitness and is fully appreciative of firmly feeling be part of something as opposed to a cheer-leader.

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There were tough times for the right-back, who finally made his first-team return on October 1 last year, some 231 days – over seven-and-a-half months – after his unfortunate injury at the John Smith's Stadium.

The closeness among a tight and genuine group at least ensured that Bogle was not ignored - as some injured players can be at some clubs and his spirits were kept up.

He continued: "This time last year, I was out injured and now we are in a position where we are in the league and going to Wembley and it’s been a massive turnaround for me.

"It's about enjoying football and the sport as these are the opportunities you want to have as a player."

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Reflecting on his previous time out, he said: "I'd probably say the lowest point was right at the start when I found out I had to have an operation.

"After that, it was just about supporting the boys and they went on a fantastic run and then it was about getting ready for pre-season and getting close to being back fit.

"The only chance I had to be down was right at the start with the operation and there was a lot going on after. I did not really have time to be down."

Given his experiences, Bogle can particularly empathise with the likes of Rhian Brewster and Rhys Norrington-Davies, who are being forced to watch on at the Blades' definitive time of the current season.

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Brewster is out for the rest of the campaign with hamstring trouble, while Wales international Norrington-Davies has been out since sustaining a serious hamstring injury himself last October which ruled him out of last winter’s World Cup and necessitated surgery.

Speaking last month, Bogle's team-mate George Baldock praised the duo's mindset, revealing that they always the first to write on the players' group chat after a game.

It was a first-hand insight into the togetherness within United's ranks and spoke volumes.

Glory would definitely be something shared this spring.

Bogle continued: "I know exactly how they feel and they are doing the same thing now (as I did) - focusing on supporting the boys.

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"Luckily enough, we are in a situation where the boys who are injured have something to look forward to with the position we are in - a trip to Wembley and a potential promotion chance.

"There's a lot to take their minds off their injuries.

"When you are working, focus on that and when you go away, think about the positives the club has and the opportunity that everyone is going to get.”