Chris Wilder last night revealed how recommendations from two of English football’s most respected managers helped Daniel Lafferty and Ethan Ebanks-Landell earn moves to Bramall Lane.
The defenders are set to make their Sheffield United debuts against Gillingham tomorrow after arriving on season loan loans earlier this week.
Although Wilder confirmed he had been tracking the pair for some time - “They were definitely on our radar” - he admitted United sought character references from Sean Dyche and former Wolverhampton Wanderers chief Kenny Jackett before processing both deals.
Lafferty, the Northern Ireland full-back, has spent four years working under Dyche at Burnley while Ebanks-Landell played for Jackett at Molineux.
“Daniel and Ethan come with glowing recommendations,” Wilder said. “And when those are from Sean and Kenny that tells you a lot about the lads. I know Shaun well and I also spoke to Kenny who is an outstanding and experienced figure. Anyone who does that always gets an honest assessment and he told me that Ethan was only out of the picture at Wolves because of circumstance.”
“Some players only become available because of circumstances,” Wilder added. “Being in the Premier League means Burnley are shopping in a different market but that’s no slight on Dan as he’s a full international. At Wolves, they’ve got a new Chinese investor, a new manager and have gone from being a club that produces its own players to buying ready-made. That’s no disrespect to Ethan either because he’s a leader and he’s played his games.”
Wilder, speaking ahead of the televised encounter at Priestfield Stadium, explained why Lafferty and Ebanks-Landell had emerged as targets before joining United on deadline day.
“They’re good players but they both come from big clubs and understand about playing in front of big crowds with a certain expectation,” he continued. “You also look at the principles of managers you respect and are keen on. Sean is one of those because of the way his teams play and the fact they always compete.
“Likewise Kenny because his teams have always been teams in the true sense of the word. My principles are in line with their principles and philosophies. So Danny and Ethan are already drilled in those. They should fit in here straight away.”