Sheffield United: Chris Wilder confronts the Championship fixture issue as his team is placed at a big disadvantage

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder

Although he seemed keen to park the subject, at least until after the meeting with Bristol City, Chris Wilder admitted that, yes, Sheffield United's coaching staff have noticed the imbalance in the Championship's fixture schedule.

As The Star has revealed, United are among three clubs seriously disadvantaged by this season's calendar which sees them play a number of Wednesday night games. One of those, next week's meeting with Birmingham City, means they will enjoy 24 hours less to prepare for their following fixture than opponents Preston North End, who face Leeds a day earlier.

"Yes, we have noticed it," Wilder said. "Even early on, when we had to shift our game against Middlesbrough, we didn't  understand that. I don't know, we have to get on with it and get over it. But it's there in black and white."

The pattern is set to continue throughout the campaign with United, together with Wigan Athletic and Derby County, never set to enjoy the benefit of a longer break than the side they are facing. By contrast, Middlesbrough and Reading will experience that luxury on four occasions and be handicapped only once.

"If you ask any manager would they rather play on a Tuesday and then face a team on a Saturday who has played on a Wednesday, they'll tell you yes," Wilder said. "I don't do the fixture computer. But there's handicaps and disadvantages there. It's probably better to talk about it next week, about flipping it around, but it's not a level playing field."