Sheffield Derby: Chris Basham gives Sheffield United a pre-derby boost by signing aÂ new long term contract
Chris Basham has spoken of his love for Sheffield United after signing a new long-term with the Championship club.
The defender, who is now tied to Bramall Lane for the next two-and-a-half seasons, agreed to extend his stay ahead of Friday's derby against Sheffield Wednesday.
"There's nowhere else I'd want to go and play, this club is definitely on the up and I really want to be a part of it for the next two-and-a-half years. "I've been here a long time, my family love the city and with them settled I'm able to focus on my game and playing consistently well, hopefully we can enjoy a double celebration on Friday night."
Basham, aged 30, is expected to feature against Wednesday after missing last weekend's defeat at Nottingham Forest through suspension. That result saw United slip to third in the table, 14 places above the visitors from Hillsborough, and a point behind leaders Leeds.
"I'm really pleased it's sorted," Basham added. "The manager knows I'm a thinker and now I can focus on arguably the biggest game of the season so far."Â
Basham has emerged as one of the most influential members of United's starting eleven following Chris Wilder's appointment two years ago. A veteran of the League One title winning campaign, Wilder's first at the helm, he has made 213 appearances since arriving on a free transfer from Blackpool.
"We have always made the point that if players deserve a new contract then they will be rewarded and that is certainly the case with Chris," Wilder told United's official website. "His performances whilst I've been at the club, and before that, have been exceptional and I'm delighted he has committed to us for the next couple of years."
As The Star revealed last month, United will open talks with wing-backs Kieron Freeman and Enda Stevens after securing Basham's future while his fellow centre-half Jack O'Connell could also be invited to the negotiating table.
"Bash is an excellent character, an athlete and as a footballer he has moulded seamlessly into our style of play."