Chris Wilder has bittersweet emotions at fans' return

SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Chris Wilder admits he is envious of rival clubs who are allowed a small percentage of fans back in stadiums from this week - and is longing for the day that supporters return to Bramall Lane.

Chris Wilder. PICTURE: SPORTIMAGE

The Blades’ home will again be empty for Sunday’s Premier League home game with Leicester City - with Sheffield one of many Tier 3 towns and cities which are currently unable to allow up to 2,000 fans back into grounds in their areas under Government rules, unlike those in the tier below.

In the top-fight, half of the clubs - located on Merseyside, London and on the south coast - are allowed a limited proportion of spectators back into grounds after being placed into Tier 2.

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But the other half are currently not including United, whose last home match with fans in attendance was back on March 7.

Wilder, who has consistently spoken about the Blades suffering from an absence of fans more than most given that Bramall Lane is one of the most atmospheric arenas in the Premier League, said: “Let our fans back in as well….

“I am delighted (for other clubs). It is an advantage, even if it is a small one.

“I have talked long and hard about the effect our supporters have had over the team over the past four years and how together the football club has been and how the players thrive and embrace the pressure that our punters give our team.

“Even the smallest amount would have been fabulous on Sunday.

“I think I am allowed an opinion as one of twenty members of the Premier League to say that it is brilliant that everybody has come back, but I should imagine I am saying the same things as Steve Bruce at Newcastle and Marcelo (Bielsa) and all the boys who would be delighted to have some sort of support if they had the opportunity at their particular club.”

“Hopefully, we will get supporters back into Bramall Lane (soon) because I would be delighted and it will be a special day when that happened, even though it will be at the numbers we hope them to be.”

Enda Stevens and Ethan Ampadu will be assessed in training tomorrow and Wilder will make a late decision regarding their potential involvement against the Foxes.

The Blades chief has also confirmed that Lys Mousset is not yet available to start following his return from injury.

On the situation with Stevens and Ampadu, he added: “He is close and we will give him the opportunity to be involved in the squad. We still have a couple of days and there’s a chance.

“He has worked well and worked extremely hard to get back in contention and he is back on the grass.

“Ethan has trained as well and is another we will make a late decision on. We are getting back to where we need to be in terms of selection. Hopefully, they will come through training and we will take it from there..

And on whether Mousset is fit enough to start, he said: “I wouldn’t say so with the amount of time he has had out. He had two or three months out and played very few games in pre-season and has missed the first nine games of the season.

“But he is getting there. He’s an important player for us. His assists and goals are an important addition to what we need to win games.”