Big-money summer signing given Sheffield United challenge as Luton win defies Derby County ignominy predictions

Chris Wilder's challenge to big-money Sheffield United duo after Luton Town victory

Chris Wilder has implored big-money signing Gus Hamer to set the Sheffield United standards for the remainder of the season after the Blades' morale-boosting win at Luton on Saturday. Hamer, recalled to the starting line-up after being dropped for the 5-0 humbling by Aston Villa, impressed before making way with a dead leg in United's 3-1 victory.

The win took United to 13 points and past Derby's record low points total of 11, which many pundits had tipped them to challenge in a season of struggle so far. It has not been the start to life in the Premier League that Hamer will have dreamed of in the summer when he made the move from Coventry City, for around £14m, as a replacement for Burnley-bound Sander Berge.

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The 26-year-old has netted three times in a Blades shirt and a stunner on his debut, away at Nottingham Forest, hinted at what may have been to come. But he has struggled to reach those performance levels consistently and despite being far from alone in that respect, the likes of Hamer, £10m Vini Souza and Cameron Archer, £18m from Aston Villa, must meet the challenge of living up to their price tags if United are to survive this season.

Souza certainly showed he was capable at Luton, capping a superb individual display with a key third goal that killed off any realistic hopes of a fightback from the home side, and it was telling afterwards that Wilder took the opportunity to shoehorn Hamer's name into a question about the big Brazilian's influence at Bramall Lane.

"Vini was a big signing for us and the big signings have got to turn up," said Wilder. "Your Hamers have got to turn up. I said to Gus: 'I left you out of the team last week for a reason. I'm not going to leave my best players on the touchline to make it more difficult for myself. I'm not sadistic. There's a reason and you should not have given me that reason, that opportunity to leave you out.'

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"And it's the same with everyone. Gus is a bi signing for us. Vini is a big signing for us. So they need to be the leaders, the best players and the consistent performers who everybody jumps in behind. We've had decent performances off Vini and Gus, until he got a dead leg. So they need to produce those types of performances, to help us as well."

On Souza, who earned his move to Bramall Lane off the back of an impressive personal season in La Liga with Espanyol despite their relegation, Wilder added ahead of this weekend's clash with Brighton: "He comes with a big CV and had a fantastic season last year. Listen, did he expect to be in a team in the Champions League? Possibly not, but he didn't expect to be in the situation that he is. And Vini has got to take part of that responsibility, as well, for the position of the football club."

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