Sheffield United: Chris Wilder challenges his team ahead of Gills test
Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, admits it is important his team builds momentum at Gillingham this weekend.
United travel to Priestfield Stadium searching for their second win of the new season after beating Oxford last weekend.
Despite maintaining results so far this term have not always reflected performances - “We’ve been the architects of our own downfall at times” - he said: “It’s important that we back up three points with another really good performance. Everybody is looking for consistency at the moment and thinking they’ve shown good signs and things that need working on. We’re no different. People say the league doesn’t really begin to take shape until 10 or 15 games but there are still a lot of points to play for in that period.”
Wilder, addressing the media at United’s training complex this morning, confirmed centre-forward Leon Clarke is a doubt for Sunday’s meeting with Justin Edinburgh’s side. Caolan Lavery, Daniel Lafferty and Ethan Ebanks-Landell could make their debuts after arriving at Bramall Lane during the final 24 hours of the transfer window.
Although the sense of relief was almost palpable following the meeting with Oxford - goals from Billy Sharp and James Wilson cancelled-out Kane Hemmings’ opener for the visitors - Wilder said: “To recover from 1-0 down on the back of (recent) results showed really good character and I saw the team grow. At Bolton, we went behind against the run of play, against Rochdale we fell behind to a mistake and even against Southend, when we went three down after 15 minutes, until the final 10 (minutes) I always felt we were only one goal away from getting right back in the game.
“You would have expected a negative attitude after that but the lads trained so hard in the week going into the Oxford game. We fell behind again but dominated the rest of the first half and dominated the second even more.”
“There are no gimmes in this league,” Wilder added. “But, equally, there should be nowhere that fills you with trepidation or dread either.
“That was the first time we got out there on the grass for a full week beforehand and I think it showed. We worked on things, we were well protected and we looked more of a unit. We work hard during the week with the purpose to make ourselves better. In my mind, Monday to Friday aren’t just days to get through before the big event.”
Clarke, who has been suffering from a foot problem, is set to be assessed by medical staff at the Steelphalt Academy later today.
“We’re looking okay,” Wilder said. “We’re just waiting on Leon to see if he’ll train. I don’t expect many changes because I saw a lot of good things last weekend.”