The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Ben Baker

ALEX BAP­TISTE is ready to put a heart-break­ing in­jury lay-off be­hind him by help­ing Sh­effield United fight their way into the League One play-offs.

The 30-year-old joined the Blades on a 93-day emer­gency loan this week from Cham­pi­onship high-fly­ers Mid­dles­brough. He made his de­but in Tues­day night’s 1-0 de­feat by Bur­ton Al­bion.

That was Bap­tiste’s first se­nior ap­pear­ance since April of last year, when he fea­tured for Black­burn in an FA Cup de­feat to Liverpool.

Af­ter join­ing Mid­dles­brough in the sum­mer, the for­mer Black­pool de­fender broke his leg in two places dur­ing pre-sea­son and it has been a long road back.

“I have been out for so long I just want to play foot­ball,” said Bap­tiste. “The re­sult was not what we wanted but, from a per­sonal level, it was re­ally pleas­ing to play 25 min­utes.

“When you are out for so long, it is heart-break­ing.The

in­jury was a se­ri­ous one and this has been a long road back.

“Mid­dles­brough have been fan­tas­tic and I am grate­ful to Sh­effield United for giv­ing me a chance to play. I want to re­pay that.”

He wants to re­turn United’s faith by en­sur­ing they play their part in the race for pro­mo­tion to the Cham­pi­onship.

Nigel Ad­kins’ side be­gan the week­end six places and four points off the top six, but Bap­tiste be­lieves it is a gap that can be bridged in the next two months.

“The be­lief is there,” he added.“You only have to look at the league ta­ble.

“Two wins on the bounce and you are right back in it. If you can get three or four, then it can take you up to third or fourth.

“If we can grind some re­sults out, there is no rea­son why we can't get into the play­off places when it mat­ters.”

RE­TURN: Alex Bap­tiste

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