Sheffield United: Chris Wilder praises his lion-hearts as they climb to third in the Championship

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder hailed the drive, courage and determination of his players after insisting they are embracing the pressure of trying to reach the Premier League.

Sunday, 9th December 2018, 12:49 am
Updated Sunday, 9th December 2018, 3:40 am
Chris Wilder has applauded his players' drive: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

United will enter Friday's showdown against fellow promotion contenders West Bromwich Albion placed third in the Championship table after beating Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

With the match against Scott Marshall's team taking place following wins for leaders Norwich City, Leeds and Derby County, Wilder, who revealed striker David McGoldrick could be set for a Republic of Ireland recall, said: "That was an attitude win, 100 per cent. 

Sheffield United beat Reading to climb to third: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

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"It was a long trip and a few other managers have admitted it puts pressure on teams at the top of the table when you're playing behind everyone else. Results, there's no point in denying it, do filter through."

Billy Sharp's 12th of the season and a Sam Baldock own goal saw United recover from a slow start in Berkshire against opponents playing their first game since Paul Clement was sacked on Thursday morning.

Although Reading are fighting relegation, Wilder had warned Marshall's appointment as caretaker manager, coupled with the experience at his disposal, meant a positive result could not be guaranteed. Those suspicions  as United, despite dominating the second-half, were forced to wait until the closing stages before Sharp broke the deadlock.

Earlier, McGoldrick had missed two good chances and seen an effort disallowed for offside. But the overall quality of his performances since arriving on a free transfer have captured Mick McCarthy's imagination following the 59-year-old's return to the FAI.

"We bumped into Mick at West Brom the night before," Wilder said. "Well, it was more Knilly (assiatant manager Alan Knill). He (McCarthy is a no-nonsense guy and he's been watching David."

Acknowledging United had looked lethargic before the interval, Wilder, whose team had been narrowly beaten by Leeds seven days earlier, continued: "To show that desire after a disappointing results tells you a lot. The supporters know they are going to get everything out of this group of players. The team is built on that attitude and drive."

After also challenging for the top six last term, only 12 months after lifting the League One title during Wilder's first season in charge, United have nevertheless been written-off as outsiders by some commentators and rival supporters alike.

"You can only keep going and doing what you're doing," Wilder said. "Twenty-one games and 37 points, that's where we are. 

"We were told, when we came in (to the Championship) that we were going to take some beatings in this big scary old division. But after 46 games last season, we're still floating around in a positive position. 

"Whether it be that or our own personal pride to be as good as we can, you can think what you want. But I believe it's more the latter."