Can Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder make it three promotions on the spin?by Mike Holden / 02 August 2017, 11:35Tweet
Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Chris Wilder and Sheffield United ahead of the 2017/18 Championship season.
Sheffield United ended their six-year Championship exile in scintillating style as Chris Wilder bettered his remarkable 99-point romp to the League Two title with Northampton in 2015/16 by racking up 100 points with his boyhood club 12 months later. It’s been a remarkable transformation in the career of a man who was straying into journeyman territory when he left Oxford at the start of 2014. The Blades work to a modest budget but are well-stocked in most areas with Wilder happy to put his faith in good League One players.
An old-school impact manager, there’s a relentlessness about Wilder that has been illustrated perfectly by his teams over the past two seasons. They never come off the pitch wondering what might have been - high-scoring games, late rallies and come-from-behind victories are common. It’s all down to an unquenchable thirst for drama and passion. There’s no rulebook or blueprint to follow, it’s cavalier football based on courage and endeavour. Sensitivity isn’t a strong suit, you either ride the rollercoaster and give it everything or sling your hook.
"I respect how Bournemouth went about things in the Championship, in their own way. I’ve had a word with Eddie Howe, about the competitive aspect of the division and how they stayed positive. They attacked it and we want to do the same. We’re new to the division but we have the same ideas. We also feel we have players who can stay on the journey with us. There’s quite a lot of snobbery when it comes to signing footballers but we’ll do it our own way."
United should be one of the more intriguing teams in the division because it’s not in Wilder’s nature to hold back or deal in contingencies, which seems risky for any newly-promoted side. As such, the Blades could be on the end of some real hidings between now and Christmas but, ultimately, you suspect they will emerge better for the experience. In true Wilder fashion, expect them to struggle early on but finish with a flourish once a few crucial lessons have been learned.
Prediction: top half