Sheffield United: Why post-international break trip to '˜Frank Lampard's Derby County' will hold no fear for Chris Wilder's Blades
Their next assignment comes at the much-fanciedÂ team recently renamed as Frank Lampard's Derby County, but Chris Wilder is convinced his side is equipped to deal with the challenge they will face at Pride Park.
Lampard taking over at Pride Park in his first managerial role after hanging up his boots raised eyebrows across the footballing world, and the irony wasn't lost in the office at United's Steelphalt Academy training base when Wilder, assistant Alan Knill and head of recruitment Paul Mitchell - with teamsÂ like Alfreton Town, Torquay United and Worksop Town on their respective CVs '“Â watched it plastered all over Sky Sports News earlier this summer.
Some months later, though, United will go to Lampard's Derby as the Championship leaders after a succession of impressive results, the latest a 1-0 victory over Hull City last weekend, at the summit of the second tier and with a ringing endorsement from former manager Nigel Adkins '“ 'It's only a matter of time before they are back in the Premier League," the Hull boss said '“Â fresh in their minds.
'There's been a lot talked about them and what they're going to do to the division, their players and their manager, but we go there in a fantastic position,' Wilder said.
'We've got a great 12 or 13 games between now and Christmas and we've got to be consistent, in terms of both performances and results. These are exciting times down here at the Lane and no doubt the rest of the season will be a bit of a rollercoaster, but we're in a great position. So let's enjoy it.'
Before they travel to Lampard's Derby, however, Wilder must hope that his five international stars report back from duty with their respective countries unscathed.
Â John Egan and Enda Stevens are in Martin O'Neill's Republic of Ireland squad which faces Denmark and Wales, while Ben Woodburn has been named in Ryan Giggs' Welsh squad.
Oli Norwood will face Austria and Bosnia & Herzegovina with Northern Ireland, and goalkeeper Dean Henderson will hope to win his latest England U21 caps against Andorra and Scotland.
'The primary objctive for the break is for all the boys to go away and get valuable experience playing for their countries, and come back fit and healthy," Wilder added.
'We'll be working the other boys throughout the break and then prepare for another great game at Derby.'