The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

Alan Browne hit the only goal of the game as North End won at Sh­effield United to leave them two points behind Derby County in sixth place.

And Neil says his side must make sure they beat Bur­ton in their last match and be in a place to take ad­van­tage of any slip-ups.

“The pres­sure is on the other teams now, they have to get the re­sult. We just have to make sure we get a re­sult and take ad­van­tage if they slip up,” he said. “If we do not do that then we don’t de­serve to be in the play-offs.

“It cer­tainly wasn’t a vin­tage per­for­mance. It be­came a re­ally cagey game, with us try­ing to see the game out, which is not what I wanted to hap­pen. But no­body talks about per­for­mance. We will take the three points.

“Who­ever scored the first goal was go­ing to win the game. It was al­ways go­ing to be tight.”

Blades boss Chris Wilder said he would not be able to take United for­ward next sea­son un­less the board re­solve the on­go­ing own­er­ship bat­tle.

“This is a bril­liant club, one that’s close to my heart and one I want to take for­ward,” he said. “The own­er­ship issue needs to be re­solved soon.

“It’s 100 per cent crit­i­cal it has to be re­solved. I can’t do my job prop­erly un­less there is di­rec­tion and a de­ci­sion.

“I re­ally shouldn’t be talk­ing about this, but un­for­tu­nately I am. I’ll al­ways be hon­est. If peo­ple don’t like that, they’ll have to deal with it.

“I want to go for­ward with this foot­ball club. And why wouldn’t I? I was nearly in tears at the end be­cause I know what a bril­liant club this is.”

Lee Evans had a shot blocked by Cal­lum Robin­son on 12 min­utes as both teams strug­gled to get into their stride.

Paul Hunt­ing­ton got a good block in to deny Leon Clarke three min­utes later as the Blades started to get go­ing.

The vis­i­tors were given a break when the referee turned down shouts for a penalty when Billy Sharpe’s cross hit Greg Cunningham’s arm.

De­clan Rudd su­perbly saved from Clarke at point-blank range on 35 min­utes, while Cunningham made an ex­cel­lent headed block on the stroke of half-time to keep out John Fleck’s firm shot.

Clarke had a curl­ing ef­fort saved by Rudd just af­ter the restart be­fore Chris Basham had to clear Sean Maguire’s cross off his own line.

Alan Browne put the vis­i­tors ahead in the 57th minute when he pounced on the re­bound af­ter Josh Har­rop’s long-range ef­fort had been saved. Sub­sti­tute Tom Clarke had a goal ruled out for Pre­ston by the off­side flag sec­onds af­ter en­ter­ing the pitch, while Enda Stevens headed wide on 71 min­utes af­ter good work down the right by Basham.

David Brooks had a shot pushed over by Rudd be­fore Fleck had an ef­fort blocked in the 77th minute as the Blades stepped up their hunt for an equaliser.

Brookes and Mark Duffy both had shots blocked in the fi­nal minute of nor­mal time as the Blades were un­able to cut their way through.

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