Sheffield United: Are Chris Wilder's players now marked men in the Championship? Their manager thinks so
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has warned his players they are now marked men in the Championship after insisting they will enter tomorrow's derby against Rotherham with "targets" on their backs.
United prepared for the visit to New York Stadium fourth in the table and knowing that a win could see them seize control of the race for Premier League football.
Revealing his respect for both United's latest opponents and his opposite number Paul Warne, Wilder said: "In terms of history and size, we are the bigger club. We are there to be shot at.Â
"The players will be told that. When we came into the division, we wanted to go after people.Â
"We will be a scalp for them. I'm not saying we're this huge club in the division or anything like that. But in this one, they'll come at us. We'll have a target on our backs."
Wilder, a lifelong United supporter and former player, also made over 150 appearances for Rotherham before entering management.
Backing Warne's team to achieve their objectives this season after being promoted via the play-offs last term, Wilder, who led United to the League One title during his first campaign in charge, said: "I'm sure they'll hit their expectations. I think they'll surprise people in the second half of the season because of the characters I know are involved. I certainly wouldn't write them off.Â
"To win promotion, when they were in freefall, to clear the decks and financially as well, you've got to say it takes some doing," he continued. "He (Warne)Â did that. They'll want to go again.Â
"I speak to Paul at managers' meetings and when we come across each other. They won't see themselves as underdogs. They'll feel they have a chance against anybody out there."
Despite finding themselves in the lower reaches of the division, Rotherham are actually in better form than United; drawing four and winning one of their last five outings. "At the start of the season, we all have expectations and some are realistic and some are not'," Wilder said. "I don't think Rotherham will realistically be looking at the top six but who is to say they can't have a run?
"What is important is that everyone is realistic in their expectations and on the same page. That includes owners, staff and fans."