Sheffield United: Chris Wilder is preparing for play-off d-day

Chris Wilder is predicting a nerve-wracking finish to the Championship season: David Klein/Sportimage
Chris Wilder is predicting a nerve-wracking finish to the Championship season: David Klein/Sportimage
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Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has warned the race for Championship play-off qualification could be decided on the final day of the regular season after predicting a series of shock results between now and the end of the campaign.

Less than a week after he dismissed their chances of reaching the Premier League next term, Wilder’s squad thrust themselves back into contention with a 3-1 win over Reading on Tuesday night.

But with the pressure growing on clubs at both ends of the table, he believes league position is no longer an accurate barometer of success.

“Possibly it will go right down to the wire at the top end,” Wilder said. “You’ve seen people pull away and then drop back into the pack. Just when you think they’re really cementing themselves, they get pulled into the mix again.

“One moment, you’re talking about someone being the in-form side and then suddenly they’re not. There have been some really tight games and the games will become even tighter from now on in. I’m pretty sure of that.”

With tomorrow’s home game against Burton Albion postponed due to adverse weather in the region, United return to action at Fulham in four days time. Centre-forwards James Wilson (ankle) and Leon Clarke (hamstring) are both doubts for the match while goalkeeper Jamal Blackman is receiving treatment for a hip complaint.

Although United’s room for manoeuvre could be further limited by concerns about the availability of David Brooks (back), Wilder said: “At the start of the season, you try and plan for these eventualities. That’s why you try and build a squad. That’s why I’ll never make excuses.”