Sheffield United took the decision to limit their activity during this month’s transfer window in order preserve team spirit within Bramall Lane’s first team squad, Chris Wilder has admitted.
But Wilder, whose side return to action against AFC Wimbledon next weekend, last night described himself as delighted with the progress made on and off the pitch following his appointment eight months ago.
United have signed 16 players, including James Hanson, Samir Carruthers and Daniel Lafferty, since appointing the 49-year-old with the likes of Jay O’Shea and Joe Riley arriving on loan.
“If we do the business we want, we feel in two windows we will have made great strides,” Wilder said. “In August, we made some big strides in the first window we worked in, and the second one with Ethan, Daniel Lafferty, Samir, Joe - and hopefully a couple of others - we have added quality and not broke up what we already have got going for us.”
Earlier this month United identified “a few more” potential targets ahead of Tuesday’s transfer deadline. Wilder, in tandem with his assistant Alan Knill and head of recruitment Paul Mitchell, advanced two of those deals on Tuesday when Hanson and O’Shea joined the League One leaders.
Another, Middlesbrough midfielder Harry Chapman, is currently undergoing treatment in the North-East after his loan with United was cut short by injury. Wilder remains keen to bring the England under-20 international back to South Yorkshire but, with his expected recovery date still to be decided, United are trying to reach an agreement with protects them financially. Otherwise, they could be forced to pay Chapman’s wages while he is still unavailable.
“Ideally, you want to get most of your business done early,” Wilder said. “And that’s what we have done but you are always guided by others, and what they want to do, too. It’s not a case of ‘we want this to happen’ and so it does.”
Hanson and O’Shea are both expected to make their debuts when Neal Ardley’s side visit Bramall Lane in seven days time. United could start the match in second place if Scunthorpe beat Port Vale this afternoon while Bolton Wanderers, in third, host Charlton Athletic at the Macron Stadium.