Sheffield United v Wolves: Chris Wilder’s Blades ready for another ‘massive’ test

Chris Wilder: Celebrating victory over Wednesday.
Chris Wilder: Celebrating victory over Wednesday.
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SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Chris Wilder is confident that his players will remain grounded after their momentous Steel City derby win at Hillsborough.

After Sunday’s outstanding 4-2 victory at Sheffield Wednesday, the Blades have justifiably had praise bestowed upon them from many quarters – but face another major test of their upwardly-mobile credentials this evening at home to another lavishly-assembled side in Wolves.

Along with Middlesbrough, Wolves were the Championship’s biggest spenders of the summer, shelving out a staggering club record fee of £15.8m to sign one player in midfielder Ruben Neves and also bringing in the likes of on-loan Atletico Madrid winger Diogo Jota.

But on the early evidence of this season, Wolves’ investment appears to be paying off, with Nuno Espírito Santo’s side flying high at the top end of the table, with Wilder admitting tonight’s game will pose a “massive test”.

Wilder, who will assess Clayton Donaldson, ex-Wolves defender Richard Stearman and Kieron Freeman ahead of the game, said: “We have to keep our feet on the ground after something like that (Sunday). But, to be honest, I do not think I have to ram it home to the group.

“They know what is expected and we have got a good dressing room, which runs itself well.

“Maybe we have gone a little bit under the radar. But I would be delighted to deal with expectation levels if they did rise.

“That is an issue we would love to have for obvious reasons. But we have to be consistent and we have to keep on improving. We will be and we will do that.

“This is a massive challenge. Everyone saw what Wolves did in the summer and how they went about it.

“I think it took everyone by surprise, but you can see the scale of their ambition to get back to the Premier League.

“They have obviously adapted really quickly to what the new manager is trying to do there and the things he wants to put in place.”

While Wolves’ recent recruitment has been both expensive and high-profile, the Blades’ focus on shrewd EFL additions during Wilder’s reign thus far has paid off handsomely.

High on the list of astute buys has been midfielder John Fleck, recently rewarded for his fine form by way of a new four-year deal and Wilder says United will look at extending the contracts of other players if the club’s fine form is maintained.

Wilder said: “I am not going to get all caught up whether someone has played in the Premier League and all of that. What we are bothered about is players who we feel can help us improve and develop with us.

“John is a good player and we are delighted to get him tied down. We feel he can move forward with us.

“I always say, even though we are a million miles off where they are at the moment, to look at Bournemouth. They are a great example of bringing players through with you. Harry Arter was with Woking and look at him now. That is what can happen.

“We will look at others (players contracts) as well.”

Last six games: Sheffield United LWWWLW Wolves DWDWWW.

Referee: P Bankes (Merseyside).

Last time: Sheffield United 0 Wolves 2; March 14, 2014; League One.