VIDEO: Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder's warning to Sheffield Wednesday ahead of Steel City Derby clash
Chris Wilder has told Sheffield Wednesday they will be competing against 30,000 Sheffield United supporters as well as his team at Bramall Lane tomorrow night.
Admitting that turning United into the dominant force in the city is one of his key aims, Wilder described the bond between their players and the terraces as the most destructive weapon in the hosts' derby armoury.
"They (Wednesday) have got a crowd to play as well," the United manager said. "One hundred per cent. There's a real connection between the fans and this team and vice versa. The players enjoy representing this football club and the fans enjoy watching them doing what they are doing. I'm not sure that happens everywhere else.
"You see players sticking their fingers up at supporters and telling them to do one. You see the same the other way around. That doesn't happen here, that's not the case. This club, I believe, is one."
Wilder, whose side triumphed 4-2 at Hillsborough in September, is expected to name debutants Ryan Leonard, Lee Evans and on-loan striker James Wilson in his squad for the meeting with Wednesday after confirming all three "have trained well" since moving to South Yorkshire. But, speaking ahead of the meeting with Jos Luhukay's charges, the 50-year-old suggested United are continuing to monitor Charlton Athletic forward Ricky Holmes after failing to sign him last summer.
"This is a great club, with a great modern stadium but one that's been here for a long time," Wilder said. "It's a great place to play your football because of the noise our people create. The key is to keep it going, to keep driving it forward and to keep the hammer down."
"They have our crowd to face as well as our players," he added. "There will be mistakes made by our players so it is the reaction to those mistakes that will tell us the bigger story. I have always asked - and the fans have given me - the best opportunity for the players to go out there produce their best performances. Especially here and in big games.
"Regardless of who are favourites, this is a big game of football. We have to turn up. We'll be going at it full tilt, the same as we always do."
United, who earlier today sold midfielder Ben Whiteman to Doncaster Rovers for an undisclosed sum, have also released defender James Wilson from his contract by mutual consent. Wilson, who made 10 appearances for United after joining them on a free transfer from Oldham Athletic at the beginning of last term, is set to join League Two club Lincoln City.