SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Chris Wilder believes that the Blades’ Championship double over Leeds United last season will not provide his side with a psychological advantage ahead of tomorrow’s derby encounter.
For the second successive campaign, both the Blades and Leeds have recorded hugely impressive openings to the season, with the stakes high ahead of the first meeting between the pair in 2018-19 – just as they were last term.
Wilder’s side famously produced an outstanding display to triumph 2-1 at Elland Road in October 2017 and followed up with victory by the same margin in the return at Bramall Lane.
That latter win in February is regarded by many Leeds fans as the moment when their play-off hopes realistically ended.
But Wilder believes that events of last season will not hold any significance in the current one, with Leeds having been afforded new hope by the arrival of a world-renowned managerial figure in Marcelo Bielsa.
Wilder said: “We played really well last year at Elland Road in front of nearly 40,000 live on the TV and did extremely well to win both games. They will not want to think about that and we should not really.
“They have a new manager, new ideas and a new direction added to what was already a really talented group to start with. He (Bielsa) is not going to be wracking it (last season) all up.”
Meanwhile, Wilder says that he remains relaxed regarding the timeframe of contract discussions with international full-backs Kieron Freeman and Enda Stevens.
The pair are set to be offered new deals with initial talks having been held – with further discussions to take place in due course.
The Blades chief admits to currently having more ‘pressing issues’ to consider with the January window opening in just over a month’s time, while being mindful that utility defender Martin Cranie’s deal is due to expire at the end of January.
On the situation with Freeman and Stevens, Wilder said: “We have said we will try and get through this period and then address it in our own time. The initial contact with players and agents has been made.
“There is 18 months left on those deals. It is not an unbelievable priority to get them both done now. We will see how it goes.
“There is Martin (to consider) because he is short term and more pressing issues as well coming up as well in January.”