SHEFFIELD United defender Neill Collins says manager Danny Wilson deserves the most credit for steering the club to the League One play-off final.
The Blades are heading to Wembley on May 26 after Chris Porter scored a late goal in Monday night’s second leg to secure a 1-0 aggregate victory over semi-final opponents Stevenage.
Wilson’s appointment initially split supporters and his former club, Sheffield Wednesday, then won automatic promotion at the Blades’ expense.
Collins, however, feels Wilson has performed heroically considering the obstacles placed in his path.
The Blades did not have significant funds available for loan signings and, in the last few weeks, Ched Evans was jailed for rape before strikers James Beattie and Will Hoskins were also ruled out of the play-offs.
“If anyone deserves success, it is the manager,” said Collins. “People just think Sheffield United should steamroller everyone but I don’t think they really look at the circumstances he has had to deal with.
“No-one has talked about what a small squad we have. We have a very strong 11, when everyone is fit. But he hasn’t been able to dip into the loan market excessively.
“Obviously, it is better to steer away from that (loans), after failures we have had in the past seasons, but we hardly have any fit strikers.”
Pressure mounted on the Blades after Evans’s imprisonment and their failure to win in his absence ultimately handed second spot to rivals Wednesday.
“The manager has dealt with everything that has been thrown his way and the players have taken a lead from that,” said Collins. “Everyone wants promotion but the manager deserves it more than anyone.”
Collins insists the Blades are a ‘form team’ heading to Wembley and cites the 1-0 defeat at MK Dons on April 21 as the only major blip in the last 14 games.
“Everybody has a bad game in a season and we have been on a great run,” he stressed. “Ideally, it would have been better to get promoted automatically but now we have to take the second opportunity we have been handed.”
The Blades have 10 days to prepare for the play-off final against Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town and just under 40,000 tickets are available to the club.
These will go on sale from 9am today with supporters getting priority based on loyalty points until Saturday when remaining tickets go on general sale.