Bristol Rovers v Sheffield United – Chris Wilder’s 100th win can help Blades stand tall after dismal run

Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United cup team-sheets have not always screamed desperation to progress but even with a Premier League game looming on Tuesday, he sees the huge importance of victory at Bristol Rovers this afternoon.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder. Picture : Peter Powell/PA

A proud Yorkshireman who recently received a message of support from Sir Geoffrey Boycott, when it comes to wins for his beloved football club, Wilder has been stuck on 99 longer than the most nervous batsmen. He wants to get to three figures so his players can start opening their shoulders again.

Win 99 came at home to Chelsea in July. There have been 21 games since. Such a sticky wicket makes a trip to League One opponents “a huge game” in the manager’s eyes.

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“We’re after a positive performance and a result,” he says bluntly. “If we do play well and we get the win we’re after hopefully we can roll that in. It’s a different level on Tuesday night (at home to Newcastle United), but there’s no downside to playing well and winning.”

BACK IN THE FRAME: John Lundstram returns for Sheffield United at Bristol Rovers today after serving his suspension for a red card at Brighton, above. Picture: David Klein/Sportimage

With only around 16 fit first-teamers, he does not have much scope to shuffle the pack.

“There will still be players missing,” he warns. “John Lundstram’s back form suspension and there might be one/two coming back and one/two missing. We’ve been quite smashed in terms of injuries and they’re not over-use injuries.”

If it was down to pure ability, even an out-of-sorts Premier League side should never lose to a team two divisions below but this is the FA Cup. Attitude will be the big factor.

“Whether it’s Monday to Friday or playing in the Premier League against some incredibly powerful clubs, the attitude has to come first,” warns Wilder.

“I’ve always been very open regarding the selection of my team in the earlier rounds. In my first year when we got out of League One, even our most critical supporters would have understood my position.

“In the three seasons when we were going for promotions we achieved two out of three and really the FA Cup did take a back seat but still I wanted the teams selected to go well and was always looking at the attitude. There’s an opportunity for whatever team I put out for a player/players to grab and take it forward and impress.

“That’s what we’re going to be looking for but we’re looking for a win as well.”

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