Why keeping Sheffield United up would be Chris Wilder’s biggest achievement in football

THERE may be no open-top buses or civic receptions, but as far as Chris Wilder is concerned, there might as well be.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder. Picture: PA.

The Sheffield United manager is not one for huge statements, yet he is clear upon one thing.

Namely that if the bottom-placed Blades manage to escape from their stricken situation and secure a third successive season of Premier League football next May, then it will be his greatest achievement in football.

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United have lost nine of their opening 10 matches of 2020-21 and have picked up just a point in an appalling run of results.

They are already six points adrift of safety and host a top-four contender in Leicester City tomorrow (2.15pm).

On whether staying up would surpass last season’s feats and promotion in 2018-19 – Wilder, who led his boyhood club to the top-flight after a 12-year absence amid party scenes in one half of Sheffield in April 2019 – said: “I think so and from a club’s point of view – in terms of whatever it has done for a long, long time.

“Another season in this division would be a huge achievement for Sheffield United, especially off the back of the results we have had so far.

“As long as we show a little consistency now in performance and pick up some results and keep in touch, then who knows what happens, going into the New Year.

“But I totally accept and understand that we have got to pick up some results sooner rather than later and hope that gap does not increase and too far to catch up and we don’t give ourselves too much to do.”

In the here and now, Wilder and his players are entrusted with keeping in touch with rivals above them to get them a realistic chance going into January.

Given the club’s position, everyone understands the importance of being proactive in bringing any new signings in soon after the transfer window opens.

The Blades, quite simply, need as much help as they can get and in double-quick time.

Wilder, who confirmed that any additions will be on loan, added: “I am confident that players will still come to us, even given the position we are in.

“I cannot wait until mid-January or the end. There are a whole host of games. Our business has to get done now (start of 2021).

“Conversations have already started and hopefully we can get the players we want signed off and be ready for early January to hit the ground running.”

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