By Tony Leighton
Sheffield United striker Chris Porter is urging supporters to play their part as the Blades entertain Crawley Town on Tuesday evening in the first of three successive home games that could be key to achieving automatic promotion.
The two Bramall Lane matches that follow the Crawley clash, both in the next week, are against promotion rivals Swindon Town and Brentford. And if all three are won then the Blades, currently fifth in the table, will almost certainly be in the top two with three games remaining to cement an automatic place.
Porter told football-league.co.uk: "These next three games are massive and we've got to try and get three points from all of them. The matches against Brentford and Swindon are massive six-pointers and we really need to win them.
"So hopefully the crowd will get behind us and spur us on. They've been great fans all season, but we need that little bit of an extra push now and hopefully an early goal against Crawley will settle the nerves and we can kick on from there."
Porter and his team-mates do not want a repeat of the heartache they suffered last season, when they were in the top two for long spells but slipped to a third-place finish and then lost on penalties to Huddersfield Town in the Play-Off Final.
It was a Porter strike that took United to the Wembley Final, the 29-year-old former Bury, Oldham Athletic and Derby County player hitting the goal that gave his team a 1-0 aggregate victory over Stevenage in the two-leg semi-final.
But the Blades could not cut a way through the Huddersfield defence at Wembley as a goalless draw was followed by a shoot-out defeat.
"It was a tough one to take," said Porter. "Throughout the whole season I thought we were going to get promoted and to lose out the way we did, that really stung.
"But everyone has put that behind them now. We certainly don't want to experience the same thing again though, and that's kicking us on even more to try and get automatic promotion. We've got games in hand on all the teams above us, so it's completely up to us.
"We can't control what other teams are going to do, we just have to concentrate on ourselves. I don't know how many wins we might need, but we've got six games left and we've got to go out and try to win every one of them."
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