Sheffield United v QPR: Oliver Norwood says rivals will fear the Blades

Oliver Norwood: Confident.
Oliver Norwood: Confident.
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Oliver Norwood says Sheffield United have proven there is nothing to fear in the Championship this season.

The Blades are third in the table ahead of today’s visit from QPR, tucked in just two points off second-placed Norwich City with 20 games remaining.

Midfielder Norwood – who this week signed a permanent deal with the Blades following his successful loan stint from Brighton – believes automatic promotion has to be United’s target come May. “There is nothing to fear,” said Norwood. “We have seen the league, played a couple of teams twice, and I genuinely don’t think there’s anything to be scared of.

“I think a lot of teams will be more fearful of us, than we are of them.

“Looking at the rest of the division, we have got to fancy ourselves. I would back our group, 10 times out of 10, to win every game against whoever we played.

“There’s a certain pressure, but it’s a good pressure. You want to be chasing down the top two, and if we get in there, we want to make sure we stay there.

“People might be scared to say that. But for me, at this football club, that has got to be the aim.

“This is why we play football. I have had seasons in the past when the season was over in March, and you start thinking about booking your summer holidays.

“Fortunately, in the last two or three seasons I haven’t been in that position, I have been in successful teams.

“There’s nothing better than getting to the summer after a successful season and you can celebrate as a group. You have achieved something.

“Whether you are motivated by money, success or medals, when you look back at the end of your career you want to be able to say to your kids ‘I was part of that Sheffield United team who got promoted’.

“I am sure we all have the same dream and goals.”

To help bolster United’s promotion dream, the Blades have signed Everton midfielder Kieran Dowell and striker Gary Madine on loan.

Both are set to feature today against Rangers, and 27-year-old Norwood believes Madine can add something different to United’s attacking options.

The pair played together as youngsters at Carlisle United, before Madine’s goals earned him a big-money move to Sheffield Wednesday.

“We were both young boys (at Carlisle). I went on loan from (Manchester) United, and Gazza had just got in the team,” said Norwood.

“He had a really good season the first year I went there, Carlisle were in and around the play-offs.

“He scores goals at this level and brings something different, which we haven’t got. He’s a target man, but we are not going to start slamming balls back to front.

“Gazza is what he is, a good target man. But he can link the play as well and is a presence. He will add something different.

“The gaffer has brought him into the group and we have welcomed him with open arms.

“Hopefully, he can produce the goods here and score some goals to help us get into the top two.”