They might not stir quite the same passions as a Steel City derby or games against Leeds but Sheffield United’s players have been told their performances during development league fixtures influence Chris Wilder’s team selections.
Wilder, who named Ched Evans and Samir Carruthers in the under-23 side which faced Sheffield Wednesday last week, also revealed the demeanour of squad members around the club’s training complex will also be factored into his thinking during the remaining 15 Championship games.
“People can play their way in and their way out,” Wilder said. “Players are always getting judged, day in day out, with everything they do. We don’t walk about with our eyes closed.
“We see everything and we talk and talk. We ask what people are doing, what they have done and what they haven’t done. They are always on show. It’s not a teacher’s pet thing. Nobody is coming in making me breakfast because they want to play. Under-23 games and training, they are all opportunities for people to press their case.”
United are eighth in the table following Saturday’s victory over the visitors from Elland Road. They travel to Leicester City in the FA Cup later this week before returning to league action against Queens Park Rangers on February 20.
Wilder, who led United to the League One title last season, signed four new players during the recent transfer window and, with a number of long-standing players pushing hard for recalls, has admitted he could rotate his options to try and secure back to back promotions.
“Some of the boys, I’ve got to say, are looking ready to play,” he said. “I’ll take into account what they’ve done in previous games but they are looking ready to play. They’ve shown that with their performances and with their attitudes. Day in, day out, their work ethic and levels have been really, really good.
“We’ve got more flexibility now and that’s important for us. It gives us more room for manoeuvre regarding how we do things. I want tough decisions to make.”