Different class: How John Fleck has helped boost Sheffield United this season

IN terms of his own form ahead of a first return to his former stomping ground, Sheffield United midfield player John Fleck could not be in a better place.

John Fleck . Pic: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

That is the view of Blades manager Chris Wilder ahead of the Scottish schemer’s maiden reunion with Coventry City this evening following his summer switch.

There will certainly be no room for sentiment for Fleck, seeking to do his bit to help the Blades move level on points with League One leaders Scunthorpe United with victory, with Wilder claiming his recent performances have fully underlined just why he was so keen to sign him.

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Wilder, whose side are unbeaten in nine league games on the road since August 20, said: “It is a big game for John and he has been different class.

“He had a slow start and there were a few issues, but on Saturday, he ran the game.

“He is respected down there as one of the best in the division. He was part of the recruitment that we were looking for.”

The midfield prowess of Fleck’s compatriot Paul Coutts has also been a key component in the club’s rise, according to Wilder, who believes that their Tartan partnership in the engine room is bearing considerable fruit.

That said, the exacting Blades chief has noted one area of deficiency, namely goal-scoring.

Challenging the pair to improve that aspect, Wilder added: “They make good decisions. They get on the ball and get us going and are both just really good players.

“It is important we keep them fit. They have just got better and better. I still speak to them about scoring, I still think they have got more in them regarding that.

“Midfielders have this thing in their head that they get turned on by sliding people in. Creating is what they get their pleasure out of.

“We do not want them banging everything (shots) from 30 yards but, when they do get into positions like they did against Chesterfield and Swindon, just to back themselves and pull the trigger.”

Last six games: Coventry LLLLWL; Sheffield United WWDLLW.

Referee: D Webb (Co.Durham).

Last time: Coventry 3 Sheffield United 1, April 30, 2016; League One.