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Chris Basham issues honest assessment of Sheffield United promotion situation



Sheffield United defender Chris Basham has admitted draws are no longer good enough if they want to get back to the Premier League at the first time of asking, going on to say to the Yorkshire Post that his side needs to knuckle down if they want to achieve this aim.

Although the Blades did well in September to recover from going winless in their opening five games of the 2021/22 campaign, continuing their decline from last term before getting back to winning ways, they have failed to be consistent enough to rise to the top half of the Championship table thus far and could drop down to as low as 19th after this afternoon’s round of fixtures.

Looking at their current predicament more positively though, they are only six points adrift of the play-off zone with 30 league games left to play this season, and still have plenty of time to introduce themselves into the promotion mix before next May.

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One fact they can’t get away from though is that they are currently 16 points behind second-place already, with automatic promotion looking less likely for a side under Slavisa Jokanovic, who managed to get to the top flight with Watford and Fulham in the past.

The concession of a late equaliser against Nottingham Forest in midweek hasn’t helped their cause, going ahead in the 78th minute but being pegged back just five minutes later as they dropped more points after losing to Blackpool last weekend.

Blades centre-back Basham, who has already experienced second-tier promotion with the club under Chris Wilder in 2018/19, believes draws are no longer of any use to the South Yorkshire outfit but did deliver an optimistic verdict on the future.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post ahead of this afternoon’s game against Blackburn Rovers, he said: “We are pushing for promotion and the play-offs and one point is not going to be good enough.

“We need as many points as possible and it’s been stop-start because of the international break.

“But I do feel we are starting to find our feet.

“We need to make sure we knuckle down and you can see the lads are all together and the manager has a good blend of everything.”

The Verdict:

Basham is right. At this stage of the season with the position they are currently in, they need to be picking up more wins than draws at this stage if they want to have any chance of forcing their way into the top six, even with the inconsistencies of teams across the Championship.

They may only be six points off the play-offs as things stand, but sitting in 16th place, they have a lot of teams to get past first and the reputation of the manager and their players’ Premier League experience won’t be enough on its own in a competitive league.

In fairness to them, they also have a huge weight to expectation on their shoulders. This is in stark contrast to the likes of Blackpool, Luton Town and others, who won’t be expected to be in contention for promotion, on paper, and will not be expected to sustain any top-six push either.

As well as this, it does feel as though they need to add a few players to their squad during the January window to play at their full potential, with their lack of orthodox wingers a real issue they need to address to take the burden off Ben Osborn.

Morgan Gibbs-White playing in a more central role with Osborn out on the left, a new addition out on the right and Iliman Ndiaye as a rotation option sounds frightening – and there might be another couple of areas Jokanovic will want to look at.

A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Chris Basham issues honest assessment of Sheffield United promotion situation

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