‘No Blade is untouchable’ warns frustrated Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder

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Chris Wilder won one promotion and laid the foundation for another during a six-year spell in charge at Oxford United.

But all that success means nothing to the Sheffield United manager as he looks to arrest his new side’s worst start to a campaign for over 20 years.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder.

The Blades have dropped to the pit of League One after claiming just a single point from their first four league matches, while an EFL Cup exit against lower league Crewe Alexandra extended the misery.

Last Saturday’s dramatic 2-1 defeat at Millwall added to the resounding 3-0 loss at home to Southend and the opening day defeat at Bolton 1-0, with a draw against Rochdale the only brief respite.

The drastic slide has left Wilder pondering further changes with transfer deadline fast approaching and caused head scratching over his selection.

Wilder reasoned: “We have picked up one point out of 12 which is not good enough for me. It shouldn’t be good enough for the players. And it shouldn’t be good enough for the football club.

“I have to pick the right team. Nobody is untouchable after the start we have made.

“We have to deal in reality and the reality is that we haven’t finished off teams when we have had the possession. Players that haven’t been playing should be ready to say ‘it’s my opportunity to come back’.”

On only eight previous occasions in the club’s 127-year history have United had such a low points tally after four matches and just five in the post-war period.

On two of those – 1955-56 and 1975-76 – United went on to be relegated after finishing rock bottom.

Relegation suggestions are still premature for a squad Wilder believes can challenge towards the upper echelons of the table.

Wilder said: “I don’t think we have been smashed by anybody. Everybody in football recognises that the opposition has a period in the game.

“I can’t remember a time where we have been absolutely dominated in any of the games.

“The two away games, we are talking two promotion favourites, and we have taken the game to them. That does give us a bit of heart and belief, that tee to green, we are doing a lot of things right.

“But the two main areas on a football pitch, at the back we are making far too many individual errors and at the top we have not killed teams off.”

Saturday’s visitors have been blunted by the departure of goal machine and promotion spearhead Kemar Roofe to Leeds United and Michael Appleton’s men have fared only slighter better than Wilder’s with a haul of four points.

The sides have not met in a league encounter since the Nineties although two FA Cup meetings in the last five years have resulted in 3-0 triumphs for the Blades.

Wilder should know all about his former club after guiding them back into the Football League during a six-year spell at The Kassam Stadium. He also guided Northampton Town up from 16th place to the League Two title last season, but refrained from reminiscing on that former glory with a point to prove at Bramall Lane.

“I can’t waste any time on wondering what my opinions are of any other club. We have a big enough job here to get it right,” he said. “I have been at many clubs in my career and had decent periods at many clubs. This, for me, is just another game for my football club.

“This club has always been my club. I’m not interested in the other bits and pieces,

“I have given everything to every club I played for and that I have been involved with as a manager, but I am solely looking at what we need to do to give our supporters something to hang onto because they haven’t had anything yet.

“That’s disappointing for them and for us and we have to deal with it soon.”

Further incomings are expected to add to the introduction of Leon Clarke and Welsh defender James Wilson, although the purse strings are tighter than in previous windows.

York-born midfielder Byron Webster is one player understood to be exploring a move north away from Saturday’s conquerors Millwall.

On the exit front, Wilder confirmed midfielder James Wallace has spent the week on trial at Fleetwood Town, while goalkeeper George Long has been allowed to speak to potential suitors ahead of Wednesday’s deadline.

Wilder added: “George came to see us on Monday. He wants to be one No 1, which is understandable and he wants to see what’s out there. Him and his agent have the opportunity to see which clubs may be interested.

“James Wallace has been over to Fleetwood this week and we are looking to strengthen before the window.

“I spoke to a representative of one of the clubs in our division and they were asking for a million and a half for a player and £750,000 for another. We are not in that market for a player any more. The owner understands that and I understand that.”

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