Sheffield United: Kieron Freeman says Chris Wilder's squad should expect to challenge for the top six this season
Kieron Freeman says Sheffield United should expect to challenge for the Championship play-offs this season, insisting their squad has progressed since going so close last term.
The wing-back, noting the arrival of players such as Oliver Norwood and Ben Woodburn at Bramall Lane, cited Paul Coutts' imminent return from injury as another factor why Chris Wilder's side can reach the top six. Freeman, who missed much of the previous campaign due to a fitness issue of his own, said: "You'll have to ask the gaffer what the aim is this year. But we're good enough to compete for a play-off place because we've got some great players here. "We got judged last year and classed as League One players but we've got respect now because of what we did last time around. Now we've got to go out there and do it all again." A member of the squad that beat Bolton Wanderers to the League One title 16 months ago, Freeman watched his team mates keep their promotion hopes alive until the penultimate match of the previous campaign after recovering from a dislocated knee.Â Speaking ahead of tomorrow's visit to the Macron Stadium, he added: "We've evolved as a side and we've got players coming back from injury like Couttsy so we're only going to get stronger. I know the qualities this team has got and everyone else is starting to see that as well." Although Coutts will miss the meeting with Wanderers as he enters the final phase of his rehabilitation - the midfielder broke a leg in November - Freeman is expected to feature after starting the wins over Queens Park Rangers and Norwich City. Wanderers narrowly avoided relegation last season but are now third in the table and unbeaten in four outings. "No one is probably going to clearly boss the league," Freeman said. "Who would have predicted they (Wanderers) would be flying after the first couple of games compared to last time out? They are though and it should be a good game. The gaffer goes through stuff really thoroughly and it's about winning personal battles and duels."