Sheffield United: ‘We’re naive? Don’t make me laugh’

Chris Basham has appeared in the Premier League: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Chris Basham has appeared in the Premier League: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
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Chris Wilder has laughed-off claims that Championship football will take his team by surprise next season.

Sheffield United play their first match in the competition since 2011 when Brentford visit Bramall Lane in 43 days time.

Samir Carruthers (left), Billy Sharp and Paul Coutts (right) have all played at a higher level

Samir Carruthers (left), Billy Sharp and Paul Coutts (right) have all played at a higher level

Although Wilder accepts its financial landscape has changed beyond all recognition during their six year absence, he insisted United’s first team squad and coaching staff possess the knowledge and tactical acumen to cope.

“I totally understand what it brings. If people think we’ve not seen Championship football, that we’ve just been cocooned in League One, well, they’re wrong. We know what it’s all about. We understand we have to get a foothold in the division but we also think we can bring something to the division too.”

United strolled to the League One title last term; finishing the campaign unbeaten in 17 outings and having reached 100 points. Crucially Wilder, celebrating his second successive promotion after leading Northampton Town out of League Two the season before, used the January transfer window to sign players with second-tier experience. Nineteen players on United’s roster have appeared at that level earlier in their careers while seven, including Samir Carruthers, Chris Basham and Enda Stevens, boast Premier League or top-flight experience.

“We weren’t taking anything for granted whatsoever,” Wilder said. “The most important thing was always the next game and the job immediately in front of us. But did look to bring in players who we either knew or felt have what it takes to play the level above.

Chris Wilder and Alan Knill oversee training last season

Chris Wilder and Alan Knill oversee training last season

“I think we were able to do that. You’re always looking to add but we didn’t want to have to rip things up and start all over again.”

“The other key thing,” Wilder continued, “Was to bring the best out of lads who had done it in the past and were already here.”

Meanwhile, former United defender Matthew Kilgallon has agreed a one year contract extension with Bradford City following Rory McArdle’s departure from Valley Parade. McArdle has joined Scunthorpe.