Sheffield United: Chris Wilder is frustrated by media claims
Chris Wilder has disputed claims that Sheffield United are destined to struggle during the second-half of the season after losing momentum towards the end of last term.
With tomorrow's match against Ipswich Town representing the mid-point of the Championship campaign, United travelled to Portman Road last night ranked fifth in the table after winning 11 of their opening 22 games.
Although that has left Wilder's team well-positioned to challenge for a top six finish, suffering two defeats in their previous three outings means the durability of his squad is again being questioned by some pundits and supporters alike. It is a situation which angers the United manager and, speaking on the eve of this afternoon's encounter with Paul Lambert's side, he expressed his frustration with the situation once again.
"If we get a positive result on Saturday at Ipswich, we will have picked up 40 points from 23 games," Wilder said. "If we can - and I believe we can - replicate the second part of the season as we have done the first, in terms of performances and results, there's no reason why we can't do well.
"If we replicate that, we put ourselves in a really good position. We are in the race after 22 games. It's been good, but we want to be better. We want to kick-on."
Wilder's frustration stems from a belief that United, who could recall Leon Clarke following injury, do not receive enough credit for punching above their financial weight. Despite awarding extended and enhanced contracts to the likes of John Fleck and Chris Basham in recent months, the budget placed at Wilder's disposal ahead of next month's transfer window is still limited compared to those enjoyed by his counterparts at fellow promotion contenders Leeds, West Bromwich Albion and West Bromwich Albion.
Derby County, who visit Bramall Lane on Boxing Day, are also expected to spend heavily when the market reopens on New Year's Day.
Ipswich are propping-up the rest of the division after winning only twice since August and recently replaced Paul Hurst with the experienced Paul Lambert.
Acknowledging they have shown signs of improvement after replacing his friend Hurst with the experienced Scot, Wilder warned Lambert's men could prove dangerous opposition following last weekend's win over Wigan Athletic.
"Ipswich will want to prove people wrong," he said. "I should imagine they have been written off by everybody, that that's them down, and it's two more who go down with them.
" But that's a dangerous attitude to take for teams going there. Because the atmosphere is not toxic, the atmosphere from the supporters to the players is very positive.Â
"The players are feeding off that, and the new manager is a positive manager in his outlook. They will want to turn one win into two, get on a little bit of a roll, and scare a couple of teams above them."