Sheffield United: ‘Outstanding’ Gary Madine challenged to keep up impressive form ahead of Steel City Derby against old club Sheffield Wednesday
Chris Wilder has challenged his ‘outstanding’ striker Gary Madine to continue his impressive form after signing on-loan for Sheffield United, ahead of next week’s Steel City Derby against Wednesday.
The Cardiff City striker, who agreed a season-long loan deal at Bramall Lane last month, could face his former employers in the second derby of the season at Hillsborough next week.
Madine got off the mark in United colours with a brace against Reading earlier this month - ending a 24-game goal drought – and came off the bench to help United secure a vital three points at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, which kept them very much in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League.
And Wilder, who had been monitoring Madine's availability for some time before striking a deal with his predecessor Neil Warnock in South Wales, said: “Gaz has got to keep going.
“He knows that, and he’s got to keep his nose clean too. He understands that as well.
“He’s been outstanding since he came through the door in terms of attitude and wanted to come here.
“People don't believe that that’s the case but I give him an enormous amount of credit for that, because he had other options and an easier one, for sure.
“But he wanted to make the right decision for him and that was good enough for me. We’ve been building him up because he’s not played a lot of football but he's getting better and better by the game.”
Everton loanee Kieran Dowell was United’s hero on Saturday, heading home what turned out to be the winner against Darren Moore’s Albion.
Although there is a school of thought a series of less emotionally charged tests might have been more beneficial, particularly given the number of minor injuries they have sustained in recent weeks, United will make the short journey across the city to Hillsborough focused and battle-hardened having faced two fellow top-six clubs within the space of 10 days.
And as Wilder explained following Saturday's victory at The Hawthorns, which came a little over a week after United beat Tony Pulis' Middlesbrough, his players entered their clash with West Brom under even greater pressure because of the kick-off time. Taking place in the evening slot for television purposes, United knew Leeds, who they face on March 16, had won together with leaders Norwich City.
“I thought we had more time to control the game and take the game away from West Brom," Wilder added.
“They were chucking people forward left, right and centre as they were trying to get back into the game. They have outstanding players and I know the manager really well and they will always go to the death.
"It was always going to be that case and we had to see it out until the 96th minute.
We will look at it and see hopefully that we can do better."
The United manager, meanwhile, won’t be too concerned by the results of United’s promotion rivals this weekend.
Leeds play West Brom on Friday night before Norwich travel to Millwall the day after, and Wilder said: “It’s just about winning a game of football.
“I am not bothered about what everybody else does, we just have to take care of our own business. I am not interested in what Leeds or Norwich do; the full focus is on us. Everything else will take care of itself. We can’t be worrying what’s happening at other clubs, we can’t control that.
“All we can affect is our own result.”