Alan Biggs: Winning mentality driving Sheffield United’s ambitions

Chris Wilder manager of Sheffield Utd with the fans during the Championship match at the City Ground.  Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Chris Wilder manager of Sheffield Utd with the fans during the Championship match at the City Ground. Simon Bellis/Sportimage
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Going for it? Yes, just as Chris Wilder promised Sheffield United would do. Going for what? As high in the Championship as possible. Which means promotion, while unspoken, is certainly not precluded.

And before we take a leap of faith to where this leads in the next transfer window, consider this.

Wilder’s team have not drawn any of their last 18 league matches, stretching back to last season’s rampant run-in to the League 1 title.

Nothing is more demonstrative of the mind-set underlying United’s third place in the Championship – and it could have been top alongside. Neil Warnock’s Cardiff had the performance in narrow defeat at Nottingham Forest last weekend got the reward it apparently merited.

What this also suggests is that the Blades could well be in a competitive position come the end of the year - when we can kick around another definition of “going for it.”

Will United’s ultra positive attitude on the field be reflected in their approach off it?

The answer will again be yes if Wilder’s ambitions have anything to do with it.

A former Bramall Lane team mate of the Blades boss, and a man still involved in the Blades set up, suggested on my Sheffield Live show that Wilder would be delighted to see United’s board up the ante on spending.

It’s a genuine possibility with Prince Abdullah now having more representation on the board and tipped to flex some financial muscle.

Mark Todd quite logically reasons: “The expectation (for this season) was probably consolidation – so you probably had a consolidation budget.

Now with the position we’re in, confidence growing, is there a promotion budget in January? A different level of investment?

“These opportunities don’t come around.

“I know Chris will want to put the foot down and invest in the squad and better the squad for all eventualities.”

Of course, Wilder won’t publicly demand it and is frequently on record appreciating the board’s support and pledging to look after the club’s money.

But it would be natural to want to ride the wave he has created.

His budget is said to be well below mid-table. Certainly, ten summer signings at an outlay of little more than £3m is very modest at this level.

The fact Wilder has made it stretch so far, recruiting wisely, is more reason to trust him with bigger amounts.

But he’ll be well aware that his next trick is the finest of balancing acts. To improve the match-winning quality of his squad without disrupting the special spirit that has taken it so far.

It means that any players recruited at a higher level of fee and wages need to be not only good characters but of a stature not be resented by the rest of the group.

I’d be surprised if head of recruitment Paul Mitchell isn’t well advanced in working on that demanding criteria.