SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Chris Wilder insists there are “huge similarities” between his side and the class of 1990 who clinched promotion to the top flight.
As with this season’s race for the Premier League heading into Easter, the Blades, then managed by Dave Bassett, trailed Leeds United by three points with four games remaining of the 1989-90 campaign.
Both Yorkshire clubs went up that year after successfully holding off a challenge from Newcastle United.
Leeds won the title on goal difference but this time around the Bramall Lane outfit boast a superior record by three.
“His attitude was positive and his players were fighters,” said Wilder, part of the squad that claimed runners-up spot in 1990, to The Yorkshire Post about Dave Bassett.
“There are huge similarities. I have not been given my career and the players have not either.
“I have had to fight for it all and so have the boys. They have not been given anything in their careers or this season.
“Even though I think a few of our supporters might have put the white flag up, I have not and these players have not.”
The initiative in the race for second place swung the way of Leeds last weekend, as Marcelo Bielsa’s men beat Sheffield Wednesday a couple of hours after the Blades had been held at home by Millwall.
Follwing that setback, Bassett ‘phoned Wilder up to remind him how something similar had happened in 1990 when they lost 4-0 at Elland Road on Easter Monday to allow Leeds to open up that three point gap with just 12 still up for grabs.
The Blades’ response was to win three times and draw at Blackburn Rovers in a fixture that saw Billy Whitehurst’s stoppage time header flash agonisingly wide. Had that gone in, the Second Division title would have gone to the Lane rather than Elland Road.
Wilder, without injured duo Billy Sharp and Chris Basham at home to Nottingham Forest, added: “The players are as disappointed as the supporters. There is a lot on the line for these boys, both collectively and individually.
“We have got in this position by having a go and by being disappointed when we have not got the result we wanted. But then coming roaring back.
“It is a huge weekend for us. The last time I looked, it was only three points. The school I went to was quite a decent one so we are in with a shout.”