Sheffield United: What Chris Wilder is refusing to tell his pal Sean Dyche

He makes no secret of his respect for Sean Dyche, whose Burnley side visit South Yorkshire this weekend.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 2:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st October 2019, 11:11 pm
Sheffield United have concerns about the fitness of several players: James Wilson/Sportimage

Indeed, speaking ahead of Saturday's Premier League fixture at Bramall Lane, Chris Wilder gave the impression he would gladly share pretty much any information about football and its foibles with his fellow manager.

But with three more points on offer - "They are so precious at this level" - the Sheffield United chief's generosity did not extend to revealing which, because it appears there is more than one, of his players are doubts due to various fitness concerns.

"We've got some," Wilder replied, when injuries were raised during his pre-match media conference. "There's a few of the lads who need to go through a process. But we'll be trying to get that sorted and hopefully they will come through."

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Eighth in the table after beating Arsenal and then drawing with West Ham, United would ideally be able to select from the same pool of talent which secured positive results against their rivals from London. But after attributing their slow start in the capital to the emotional and the physical demands facing Unai Emery's men placed upon his players, Wilder could be forced to make a number of changes to prevent the same thing happening again. Despite praising the manner of their comeback against West Ham - when Lys Mousset's superb finish capped an improved second-half display - Wilder could be tempted to make changes to prevent a repeat. Burnley, who like United pride themselves on their attitude and character, might not be as generous as Manuel Pellegrini's side if they take the lead.

Mousset, who was also responsible for scoring the match-winner when Arsenal faced United, could return to the starting eleven after beginning the meeting with West Ham on the bench. Speaking at the Steelphalt Academy, Wilder suggested the Frenchman's conditioning remains a concern - "He might not, as we'd like him to do it, be capable of doing the full 90 yet" - but refused to rule-out the possibility of pairing him with David McGoldrick. Captain Billy Sharp and Oli McBurnie, United's record signing, will also be hoping for recalls.

"The right team to start is not always the right one to finish," Wilder said. "The game has changed now, especially with the work we want them to do in and out of possession. It's not an eleven man game for us. You look at every aspect of it and everyone has a part to play."