Sheffield United: Chris Wilder’s approach to the Steel City derby puts him at odds with many of his managerial counterparts

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, will make no attempt to downplay the significance the derby against Sheffield Wednesday after acknowledging it is more than just a game.

Monday, 25th February 2019, 15:22 pm
Updated Monday, 25th February 2019, 15:27 pm
Chris Wilder recognises what derbies mean: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

United began preparing for next week’s visit to Hillsborough ranked second in the Championship, two points behind leaders Norwich City and above Leeds on goal difference.

Although their position in the table has led to claims United should also consider the bigger picture as they chase promotion to the Premier League, Wilder, a lifelong supporter of the club, said: "Next week means a lot. I am not going to downplay that game and our supporters will not expect me to. 

"I would not expect their manager, players and supporters to do that either. It is going to be another fantastic game to be involved and if we keep going like we are, we are a dangerous side and a tough team to get around."

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Wilder's refusal to shield his players from the intensity of meetings with Wednesday is in stark contrast the approach adopted by many of his counterparts across the English Football League, who prefer to focus solely on points rather than the emotional aspect of derbies.

But it is a policy which has proven successful in United's three meetings with Wednesday since his appointment in 2016, with Wilder's team winning last season's corresponding fixture before two draws at Bramall Lane.

Having instructed his players to embrace the build-up to the match, Wilder added: "There is nothing like it is there."