CHRIS BASHAM says Sheffield United’s manager and captain being lifelong fans of the club means no one in the home dressing room tonight will be in any doubt as to what is at stake.
The Blades, after becoming the first away team in Steel City derby history to net four goals, are looking to complete an 11th league double over the Owls.
Victory would not only lift United back into the play-off places, but also leave manager Chris Wilder and captain Billy Sharp, fans of the club since childhood, in dreamland.
“With the skipper and the gaffer,” said Basham, “you are always aware what it means. It is a massive game. I do try and get clear of it when I am with my family. But, when I am in the club, I like to soak it all up and take everything in.
“The gaffer supports the club so if we do get beat we get a rollocking. As for the skipper, he will be desperate to get out on that pitch. He was hurt for the last one, but he really played his part.”
Wednesday will make the short trip across Sheffield with memories of September’s 4-2 loss to the Blades fresh in the mind.
“They will be hurting and they will be wanting to put something right,” added Basham. “There will be a lot of lads wanting to put a stamp down with the new manager.
“I don’t know loads about him because he has come from a foreign country. But he has won trophies and he seems mentally tough on their players. So I am sure he will be looking to do something to affect this.”
As Owls boss Jos Luhukay prepares to make his Steel City derby debut in the away dugout, a trio of Blades signings are also hoping to make their mark after joining earlier this week.
Ryan Leonard and Lee Evans have arrived from Southend United and Wolverhampton Wanderers respectively for around £750,000 apiece, while Manchester United striker James Wilson is on loan for the rest of the season.
Wilder has included the trio in his squad along with Mark Duffy and John Lundstram, who both missed the FA Cup win at Ipswich Town.
“It is good that we have got fresh faces and fresh faces who are going to challenge for places,” added Basham, now in his fourth season at the Lane. “They don’t just want to sit on the bench. They will be wanting to leave their mark.”