SHEFFIELD UNITED may have ticked multiple boxes since their return to the Championship, but one is conspicuous by its absence.
With three-game week’s punctuating the second-tier landscape at regular junctures, success in those intense periods can go a long way towards a side meeting their season’s aims.
The Blades’ win-ratio was relatively healthy last term – only five clubs won more Championship games in 2017-18 – but winning three successive league matches in a seven-day period has so far proved elusive.
This afternoon’s trip to Ashton Gate followed by consecutive home appointments with Birmingham City and Preston presents an early opportunity to make such a statement, which would also serve as a barometer of the Blades’ progress.
“When we came into the division the talk was can we win Saturday and then Tuesday? Then, after that can we win on the Saturday as well?,” said Wilder, whose side have won their past four league matches to turn around rapidly a below-par opening week of the campaign.
“Any team that can do that is strong and powerful because of the intensity of the division.
“We are on a good run. That is important, to get those going. You cannot win a few and then lose a few.
“That is something we looked at last year, knowing we have to do it better now.
“There is expectation from within you as a person. Sometimes people have to take a step back and look at the competition in the division.
“But then you think, ‘let’s go and get a win’ regardless of what they have got and we have not. You take that out of the equation and try to go and win a game of football.”
If you ask any manager would they rather play on a Tuesday and then face a team on a Saturday who has played on a Wednesday, they will tell you yes.Chris Wilder
To achieve that noteworthy milestone over the next seven days the Blades must do things the hard way. After today’s trip south the Blades must wait until Wednesday night to face Birmingham, 24 hours after the majority of their rivals have been in action in a full midweek programme.
Wilder – who made his feelings known after his side’s away fixture at Middlesbrough last month was brought forward at the behest of the television – admits it is far from ideal, with the Blades back in action just three days later against a Preston side who will have been afforded an extra day’s rest.
On the scheduling of their next midweek fixture, the Blades’ chief observed: “Yes, we have noticed it. Even early on, when we had to shift our game against Middlesbrough, we did not understand that.
“I don’t know. We have to get on with it and get over it, but it is there in black and white.
“If you ask any manager would they rather play on a Tuesday and then face a team on a Saturday who has played on a Wednesday, they will tell you yes.
“I do not do the fixture computer, but there is handicaps and disadvantages there.
“It is probably better to talk about it next week, about flipping it around.
“But it is not a level playing field.”