Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder believes the visit of MK Dons tomorrow will be “one of the toughest games we’ll have at Bramall Lane this year”.
The assertion may not be reflected in the League One table with the Dons just a point outside of the relegation zone, a poor run of results seeing manager Karl Robinson lose his job this week.
But Wilder was a big admirer of MK’s style of play under Robinson, and has urged his players not to take the opposition lightly.
Coming after the emotional high of a 3-3 Yorkshire derby draw at Bradford City, the Blades have been warned not to be complacent tomorrow.
“I’m surprised MK Dons aren’t higher,” said Wilder. “At the start of the season, I thought they’d be right up there.
“But the consistency of the club and in terms of the way they play, looking to play through rather than just smacking it, means I’m sure they’ll get there. Sometimes, it’s just the bounce of the ball. Quite easily, they could be in a better position. Still, for me, this is one of the toughest games we’ll have at Bramall Lane this year.
“Anything could happen. They could be flat after losing a manager who is pretty close to them or there could be a reaction.
“I’m not inside the club so I don’t know what’s going to happen.
“Managers and coaches, we like to think we’ve got half an idea. But it’s the quality of the players on show that ultimately gets the result.”
Blades duo James Wilson and Leon Clarke both miss out tomorrow with ankle problems, but Wilder is hopeful they could return for the Chesterfield trip in a fortnight.
“Willo has had a steroid put into his ankle and will possibly be ready for Chesterfield,” said Wilder, whose Blades team are unbeaten in their last 10 league outings.
“He came back after turning his ankle, but didn’t feel quite right with it and so has had a little bit of help. Clarkey is out on the grass and blowing. That’s good to see. He’ll need a little bit of work, but hopefully he’ll be back, ready to be involved, for Chesterfield too.”
“He (Clarke) will stick his hand up and admit it’s not been the start to the season he wanted, he’s a conscientious boy and when things are going well you want to be a part of it as quickly as possible.
We’re okay with injuries after Bradford and ready for another big game.”