Danny Wilson has denied Sheffield United are in danger of wilting under the pressure of being promotion favourites ahead of Saturday’s League One opener against Shrewsbury Town.
Despite their status as the division’s most fancied team, United will entertain Graham Turner’s side having suffered a shock defeat by Burton Albion in the Capital One Cup first round.
But Wilson dismissed claims the result, coupled with May’s play-off final defeat, means United are now under even greater scrutiny.
“The expectation levels haven’t got any higher. I don’t think they could,” he said.
“Sheffield United are expected to win every single game. People expect us to go up this season. I know it and the lads know it too.
“What happened (at Wembley) doesn’t alter a thing because if we were in the Championship then we’d be expected to get into the Premier League.”
Wilson, who predicts on-loan striker John Cofie (hip) will be available for selection against Shrewsbury, added: “There was a lot of expectation last season and, despite what happened at the end, I don’t think anyone could say the lads didn’t cope with that.”
United’s preparations for their meeting with newly promoted Shrewsbury are taking place against a backdrop of further activity in the transfer market with officials working behind the scenes to off-load those high-earners deemed surplus to requirements by Wilson and his staff.
Nick Montgomery - Bramall Lane’s longest serving player - and Richard Cresswell are both expected to depart with Leeds, Blackpool, Burnley, Millwall, Huddersfield Town and Scunthorpe among those keen.
Wilson acknowledged after Nick Blackman became his sixth summer signing that trimming United’s wage bill is now a priority as the club seek to comply with new financial legislation.