Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has told his players they should be glad opponents view them as the biggest scalp in the division.
Speaking ahead of today’s visit to League One leaders Scunthorpe, Wilder warned Graham Alexander’s side will “raise their game” after being held at home by Charlton Athletic in midweek.
But, dismissing claims United should view the title as a hindrance, the 48-year-old said: “When we come into town, yes, players raise their games and supporters raise their voices. We have to understand that and deal with it. But we’d rather have that than 2,500 there and 150 of our supporters. We just have to make sure we get the result we want.”
United, who are set to enjoy a sell-out following at Glanford Park, climbed to sixth after winning their fourth consecutive match in the competition by beating Peterborough last weekend. Caolan Lavery should be available for selection despite receiving what Wilder described as “a nasty blow” to his Achilles during an under-23 fixture against Queens Park Rangers on Monday. But fellow centre-forward Leon Clarke (ankle) faces an anxious wait to discover if he will be passed fit. The former Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bury marksman underwent a scan yesterday.
“I went to watch them (Scunthorpe) on Tuesday,” Wilder said. “It was a tight game and the opposition paid them a lot of respect.
“There’s lots of connections. Alan (Knill), Billy (Sharp) and (Mark) Duffy, who are with us now, were all there before. (David) Mirfin for them is a Sheffield boy. I know a few of their players. It’s early but both teams are going well. We’re in decent nick.”
Alexander, meanwhile, has urged Scunthorpe’s supporters to create a wall of noise during this weekend’s game.
“We had a massive club here on Tuesday and another one now,” he said. “I am more fussed about our supporters and the numbers we will bring to the ground. I’m sure our fans will respond.”