DANNY Wilson is contemplating a dramatic overhaul of the way Sheffield United approach their home games after expressing concerns about the state of Bramall Lane’s pitch, writes James Shield.
Despite remaining convinced his team can pass their way back into League One’s automatic promotion positions, the United manager admitted that last weekend’s home defeat by Yeovil Town could prompt him to change both tactics and personnel when Coventry City visit South Yorkshire next month.
Coaching staff discussed the playing surface, which has also alarmed senior members of United’s squad, when they reconvened for training at Shirecliffe yesterday with a final decision set to be taken following further consultation with the stadium’s head groundsmen.
Wilson, reflecting upon events against Gary Johnson’s side three days ago, told The Star: “Doing things differently is definitely something that we’re going to have to look at. That includes how we play and possibly, because of that, the personnel too.
“It might be time just to take the brakes off. Just to go all out.
“We have to make sure the pitch is our friend, not our enemy. The lads here like to play football but it’s difficult to control and pass the ball when the first thing it does is bounce up near your whatsits.”
United’s pitch deteriorated dramatically during last month’s shock reverse at the hands of Hartlepool.
Indeed, John Hughes, Wilson’s counterpart at Victoria Park, acknowledged it had “proved to be a great leveller” immediately after that match.
With Yeovil striker Paddy Madden’s brace condemning them to their fourth loss of the competition this term, United head to Notts County this weekend trailing leaders Tranmere Rovers by six points and also behind Doncaster Rovers and Brentford in the table.
“It’s not the groundsman’s fault,” Wilson added. “It’s just the elements.”
Although only Bournemouth, Preston North End and Shrewsbury Town have drawn as many games on home soil (six) since the race for the Championship resumed in August, United’s results on the road continue to be favourable.
They recently beat County 4-1 in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Meadow Lane and average 1.47 per game on their travels under Wilson’s stewardship in the league.
“We’re disappointed but we’ll work hard and look to bounce back,” he said.
George Willis has signed a two-and-a-half year professional contract with United. The goalkeeper’s deal contains a further 12 month option.
Willis, aged 17, said: “I’ve been with the club for a number of years so I’m delighted to be given this opportunity.”