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Why Derby-born Ben Osborn is confident Sheffield United will better record low points of his hometown club

Ben Osborn is confident Sheffield United won’t achieve the unwanted record currently held by his hometown club.

Osborn was born in Derby and played 230 times for nearby Nottingham Forest before joining the Blades in the summer of 2009.

The 26-year-old therefore appreciates more than most the pain and embarrassment Derby County suffered in 2007/08.

Derby finished that season with just 11 points, which still stands as the lowest tally in Premier League history.

They lost all but nine of their 38 league matches and won once – beating Newcastle United 1-0 at home.

The Blades have just beaten the same opposition by the same score line to secure their first league victory this season.

They’re currently bottom of the table with five points from 18 games. As things stand, the South Yorkshire side are on course to gather fewer points than the Rams did 13 years ago.

Why Ben Osborn thinks things are different at Sheffield United

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Despite the predicament he and his teammates find themselves in, Osborn has genuine confidence United can avoid ‘doing a Derby’.

In fact, with nine points separating the Blades and safety, the Forest academy product even believes they can pull off an improbable escape.

“I actually read an article the other day on The Athletic. It was about Derby’s struggles and their season,” Osborn told BBC Radio Sheffield.

“I probably shouldn’t have read it, really, seeing where we are at the moment.

“It was interviewing Matt Oakley and Paul Jewell, who were in charge at the time. Ollie Norwood read it as well and we were speaking about it before the Newcastle game.

“We were saying it doesn’t feel like that here. They were saying how it felt at the time and things they were going through going into the games.

“It hasn’t ever felt like that here. I think that’s something we can take hope from.”

Why Osborn has a point

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In the article, Stuart James speaks to those who experienced awful Premier League campaigns.

Tommy Miller, who was relegated with Sunderland in 2005/06 when they picked up just 15 points, features. As does Mark Bunn, who went down with Aston Villa and their 17 points a decade later.

Yet as Osborn says, the main focus is on Derby – obviously. Manager and captain respectively at the time, Paul Jewell and Matt Oakley, both discuss that season.

They speak of being in a “rut” and knowing relegation was inevitable. The Rams were newly promoted and recruited poorly.

It was a similar story with Sunderland, while at Villa they had neither an owner nor manager who was apparently interested anymore.

That is certainly not the case at Bramall Lane. Chris Wilder guided the Blades to their highest league position since 1992 last term when they finished ninth.

Wilder also seems as committed as ever and has been publicly backed by the owner and chairman.

The players put in a superb performance to beat Newcastle on Tuesday.

In 2007/08, Derby conceded six goals in three games and were beaten 5-0 twice.

Aside from 4-1 and 3-0 defeats to Chelsea and Southampton respectively, United haven’t been truly battered in any of their defeats. 11 of their 15 losses have been by a single goal.

The task to avoid relegation is daunting and one that may eventually prove beyond this team. But it sounds like they are far from the depths that Derby endured.

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