Sheffield United: Mark Duffy reveals how Chris Wilder prevented him from signing for a rival club after new deal is signed
Mark Duffy has welcomed Sheffield United's decision to award Chris Wilder a new contract, describing the manager's relationship with his players as the driving force behind the club's march into the Premier League.
Duffy, who three years ago became Wilder's first transfer signing after taking charge at Bramall Lane, also revealed he was destined to join Charlton Athletic before a dramatic turn of events saw him arrive in South Yorkshire.
The midfielder explained Wilder first approached him about a move to London during his own discussions with officials at The Valley in the summer of 2016, when he decided to leave Northampton Town after delivering the League Two title to Sixfields.
"He (Wilder) was close to going to Charlton, everyone knows that, and I'd spoken to him and Knilly (assistant manager Alan Knill) myself," Duffy, who has twice been promoted with United despite being released by Birmingham City. "Then Sheffield United came in for them and, to be honest, that was always better for me because it's a bigger club.
"I'd have probably ended-up following them down there. But I'm delighted they chose this club, like I say.
"The success he (Wilder) has brought to the club, it (the contract) is deserved. It shows hard work pays off and we're genuinely delighted with what's happened."
"He is the one, with Knilly, who brought me here," Duffy added. "Right from day one, he made it clear what he wanted and everything has gone from there. There's no messing around."
After guiding United out of League One at the first time of asking before finishing second in the Championship last term, Wilder put pen to paper on a new three year agreement earlier this week at the team's training camp in Portugal. Based near the resort of Vale do Lobo, United are preparing for Friday's friendly against Real Betis before they fly back to England for Tuesday's meeting with Burton Albion.
United return to competitive action when they travel to AFC Bournemouth on August 10; their first top-flight fixture since being relegated 12 years ago.
"It's not too far away now," Duffy said. "We're preparing right and we want to be as fit as we can. It's the best league in thew world and we want to be ready. But we don't want to build things up too much because that can affect your performance."