Sheffield United: ‘Last seven games are biggest since Premier League’ says boss Chris Wilder

Chris Wilder and Billy Sharp
Chris Wilder and Billy Sharp
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Chris Wilder has insisted Sheffield United’s supporters can help them over the line for promotion after admitting that his club’s seven remaining games are probably their biggest in a decade.

United can extend their lead at the top of League One to seven points, and go 13 clear of third-placed Fleetwood, with victory over Millwall at Bramall Lane tonight.

And Wilder, a boyhood Blade who watched games in their run to the FA Cup semi-final in 2014 from the stands, said: “We have had some big games in recent years. There were the cup games under Nigel Clough, particularly the Tottenham night game and the two against Charlton and Forest. It was absolutely bouncing.

“But I believe these are bigger games for the football club. Those were one-off games, with nothing to lose.

“And, without being too dramatic, some will say the biggest since the 2009 Championship play-off final or Wigan [when United were relegated from the Premier League on the final day]. But I would put these on a par with those.”

Victories over Millwall tonight and Coventry next Wednesday could see United promoted, if Fleetwood lose against Swindon on Saturday and Oxford on Wednesday.

After that, United travel to Northampton and Port Vale, host Bradford, go to MK Dons and round off the season at home to Chesterfield.

And Wilder added: “We can get over the line with our home record. We’ve talked about making Bramall Lane hostile for opposition players when they walk through the door, and we’ve done that this year.

“Now is the time for the fans to drive the players on, they have a massive part to play in us getting out this division.

“Now is the time for them to support us like they’ve never supported us before. We leave everything out there and if the fans can do that over these next four home games, then I am sure we can achieve what we’re looking to achieve.

“But we’re not getting carried away. We are grounded, we are humble people and we know if you take things for granted then the game has that ability to hurt you.”

Wilder will welcome back Danny Lafferty tonight after the wing-back’s call-up to the Northern Ireland squad saw him miss Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Oldham, which extended United’s current unbeaten run to 10 games.

Skipper Billy Sharp, on 26 this season, needs two more goals to reach 200 in his career and said: “We have two vital home games coming up. If we win them both, it will be very difficult for Fleetwood to catch us.

“The lads know what has to be done but, before Coventry, we have Millwall. We need to put all our effort into that game and get over the line as quickly as possible.”