Chris Wilder is convinced Sheffield United can upset the odds by proving team spirit is more important than money in the Championship next term.
Wilder, the United manager, was speaking as Bramall Lane’s hierarchy prepare for further talks with Charlton Athletic about signing the Addicks’ Player of the Season, Ricky Holmes.
Although Wilder concedes the Blades cannot match the spending power of clubs like Middlesbrough and Derby County, who they are scheduled to face during the opening month of the new campaign, he said: “We feel we’ve got a good mix, a vibrant mix.
“There are young energetic players who want to prove themselves in the division above and players who have been there and want another crack at it. The power in our numbers, we feel, is stronger than the individuals other teams might have.”
Wilder has signed four new players, including Ched Evans, George Baldock and Enda Stevens, since guiding United to promotion at the first time of asking, with Holmes, Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Southend captain Ryan Leonard also known to feature on his wanted list.
Holmes has been the subject of two bids from the League One champions and, although Charlton manager Karl Robinson insists the winger is not for sale, United remain hopeful of luring the player to South Yorkshire.
As The Star explained last week, Wilder’s decision to place a time limit on their discussions with the Londoners is a simply a tactic designed to keep up the pressure on Robinson and his board of directors.
Ebanks-Landell, who spent last season on loan in South Yorkshire, is expected to leave Wolverhampton Wanderers following the departure of manager Paul Lambert, while United have offered Billy Sharp, Paul Coutts and Chris Basham new contracts.
Wing-back Kieron Freeman, whose 11 goals helped fire Unietd to the title, is also understood to have held talks about extending his present deal.
“We’ve got to get a foothold, first and foremost, in this division,” Wilder said. “It’s a ridiculously powerful division with the money that’s involved now.
“Seven or eight times out of 10, the teams with the biggest revenue streams, backing and sponsorship are the ones who come out on top. But it doesn’t always work that way. We’ll work well, work hard and see where it takes us.”