Sheffield United: Chris Wilder in warning to his Blades ahead of FA Cup test

Harry Chapman of Sheffield Utd
Harry Chapman of Sheffield Utd
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The players may be different and the formation could change but Chris Wilder insists that when Sheffield United kick off their FA Cup campaign tomorrow afternoon, one thing will remain constant.

“We expect a performance,” the Blades boss said, of his side’s clash against Leyton Orient at Bramall Lane.

“Whatever team we put out. We appreciate we won’t get a 20,000 crowd like we did against MK Dons, which was a fantastic effort and one we’re very grateful of, but it’s still a big game for us.

“There’ll be opportunities for a couple of players to come in and impress, and for the others to keep bang in form.

“We’ve got a team which is still learning how to win, that wants to win, and that won’t change on Sunday.”

Wilder, a boyhood Blade who watched United’s run to the semi-finals of this competition under Nigel Clough from the Bramall Lane stands, is without Ethan Ebanks-Landell after Wolves, the defender’s parent club, refused him permission to play.

But Daniel Lafferty and Harry Chapman, United’s other two loanees, are available. Chapman and Louis Reed, both selected for the England U20 squad earlier this week, have received special dispensation to be involved by the FA, who will fly the pair out on Monday for South Korea.

“I was at the games under Nigel, against Nottingham Forest and Charlton, as a supporter, and the atmosphere was incredible at both,” Wilder added.

“And I’d love to be involved in that kind of occasion as a manager, leading my team out and pitting ourselves against the best in the country.

“We saw that last year when we drew Manchester United at Old Trafford in the third round, so the aim is to be in the draw come January.

“And the hard work for that starts on Sunday, so we’ve got to be fully focused on that.”

Wilder, who has led United on an 11-match unbeaten league run after a difficult start to the season, joined Sunday’s opponents on loan from United in his playing days before moving to Rotherham United.

“It’s a club I know a lot about, and not just over the last 12 to 18 months,” Wilder added.

“When Russell Slade was there, they were unlucky not to reach the Championship; they were the outstanding team that season before they lost in the Play-Off final to Rotherham on penalties.

“It’s difficult for the supporters because of the change of ownership. They’re a decent old club at League One level pushing for the Championship.

“But the mentality of our players has been great, and they want to progress.”