Dean Windass back in the Premier League is an intriguing prospect, with the striker hardly the conventional image of your modern-day professional athlete, but no one will be pouring in any more effort than the portly Hull City talisman to make that dream a reality for the remaining two games of the season.
Windass has been handed a new contract by Phil Brown, even though he is in his 40th year, such has been his impact on their unlikely charge towards the top flight. That momentum was brought to a halt at Bramall Lane on Saturday, as Hull failed to capitalise on a man advantage during the second half and slipped to a costly defeat.
Windass was unable to rescue the situation as Stephen Quinn's volley and James Beattie's penalty gave Kevin Blackwell a win that keeps alive his hopes of a play-off berth after the United captain Chris Morgan had been sent off for the 11th time in his career for two yellow cards on the stroke of half-time.
However, hope remains and Windass refuses to accept automatic promotion is now gone, after falling three points behind second-placed Stoke. "We have two cup finals left and we want to win them both. We have to give everything," he said.
No one can accuse United of leaving any energy un-spent. "If we had gone down to nine men we would still have won," said Blackwell, who has still not been given any assurances of his future at the club beyond the end of the season.
Intriguingly, his mentor and former United manager Neil Warnock – now with Crystal Palace – seems to be Blackwell's biggest obstacle. But, after depriving Hull, United can do their rivals a favour next weekend by beating Bristol City – how they would love Phil Brown to reciprocate by lowering the colours of Palace at the same time.
Goals: Quinn (51) 1-0; Beattie pen (72) 2-0.
Sheffield Utd (4-4-2): Kenny; Halls, Kilgallon, Morgan, Naysmith; Cotterill (Ehiogu, 46), Speed, Tonge, Quinn; Beattie, Sharp (Hulse, 77). Substitutes not used: Stead, Gillespie, Martin.
Hull City (4-4-2): Myhill; Ricketts, Turner, Livermore (France, 75), Dawson (Windass, 64); Fagan (Pedersen, 56), Ashbee, Marney, Hughes; Folan, Campbell. Substitutes not used: Duke, Walton.
Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).
Booked: Sheffield United Morgan Hull City Livermore, Fagan, Windass.
Sent off: Morgan (45).
Man of the match: Windass.
Attendance: 28,188.Reuse content