DANNY Wilson has insisted the weight of expectation at Bramall Lane should inspire, not inhibit, his players next season.
The Sheffield United manager, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s friendly against Blackpool, dismissed claims the pressure created by last season’s relegation will have an adverse effect on a squad which, by his own admission, remains a work in progress.
“It’s not a burden at all,” Wilson said. “Quite the opposite in fact.
“When you are at a big club you have to deliver big performances and Sheffield United is a big club so I would be very surprised if people weren’t expecting us to be up there and in contention.
“It goes with the territory.”
Wilson, whose appointment in May provoked angry scenes among some sections of United’s following, concedes he will be under particular scrutiny when the South Yorkshire club begins its League One campaign at Oldham Athletic in one week’s time.
But he used his programme notes ahead of Tuesday’s friendly with Doncaster Rovers to insist personal agendas must not be allowed to overshadow his team’s bid to regain the Championship status they surrendered in disappointing fashion last term.
Those words appeared to resonate with the majority of those who witnessed United deliver an encouraging display before being beaten 1-0 by Sean O’Driscoll’s side.
Indeed, Wilson received a warm round of applause from the majority of those in the stands when he was introduced over the PA at kick-off.
Blackpool’s visit represents the final opportunity for United to road test the ideas the 51-year-old and his assistant Frank Barlow are attempting to implement before travelling to Boundary Park.
However, those members of the academy and development teams hoping to be involved at senior level could be pressed into action against Stocksbridge Park Steels on Tuesday.
n United will hold their open day (10am-2pm) before the Blackpool match (kick-off 3pm). The players will be available for autographs.