Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has urged his players to take out their frustration on Gillingham this weekend after the League One leaders’ six match winning streak came to an end.
United saw their lead at the top of the table cut to a single point when they were beaten by Walsall five days ago.
Although Wilder expressed reservations about his team’s defensive display at the Banks’s Stadium, he hopes the criticism which followed will provoke a positive response when Adrian Pennock’s side visit Bramall Lane.
“We aren’t arrogant when we win and so we aren’t going to be dismissive of anything when we lose,” Wilder said. “That’s not the way we do things here.
“After victories, everyone is happy to take the plaudits, listen to the nice comments and read the headlines. So, when you lose, you’ve got to accept that things will go the other way. That goes for the players, the staff and also myself. You can’t have it both ways.”
Wilder, who could hand new loan signing Joe Riley his debut when Gillingham look to avenge their 2-1 defeat in Kent earlier this term, admitted United had conceded “poor goals” en route to their 4-1 reverse at Walsall.
But, after taking maximum points from 10 of their previous 14 outings, he added: “People come out with all sorts of stuff in situations like this. They talk about set-backs, slaps in the face, reality checks or whatever. But I remember getting ‘done’ a few times in promotion winning seasons.
“The most important thing is that the reaction is right. I’m positive and confident that, with the experiences we’ve been through, that’s what will happen here. We’ve got to go out there in our next game and show that reaction.”
Riley, aged 20, joined United from Manchester United earlier this week and is set to be named in the squad which faces 17th placed Gillingham on Saturday afternoon. Daniel Lafferty, who missed the meeting with Walsall due to a back complaint, could return to action if he receives the all-clear from medical staff. Wilder is expected to provide an update on the Northern Ireland international’s condition during his pre-match press conference this morning.