Sheffield United return to Championship action this weekend when they travel to Derby County – and Chris Wilder faced the media this morning at his pre-match press conference.
Here are all the key themes from his meeting with the media.
On international call-ups for his players: A real feather in the cap for them and for us as a football club, but biggest thing is they come back without any knocks so we’re at full-strength
Freeman call-up: Reward for his good performances and I’m not surprised, shows he’s playing well. But he has to play well to stay in the team, as they all do. We have competition at this club and that’s what we need.
Contracts: All contracts we’ll look at in terms of length. We want to build and add better players to good players we’ve already got.
Chris Basham: Negotiations are underway regarding a new deal.
Conor Washington available after withdrawing from Northern Ireland squad: ‘Yes.’
Break: Worked hard, had a couple of days off. Depleted group but they’ve worked hard, which they needed to do.
Thought about doing anything differently during international break after last time, a defeat at Bristol?: ‘No.’
How to maintain good start to season? Be consistent in performance and attitude, keep doing stuff we’ve been doing and keep it ticking over. Another set of game we have to play well to get results, regardless of the opposition. I’ve been asked about Stoke, Derby etc and that run will be as tough as any we’ve had this season.
Better equipped to last the pace this season: Stronger in terms of competition for the group, we knew what we needed to do and bring in to up the competition and we did it, we had it last year with Freeman and Baldock but we’ve got it in more positions this season. It’s a new group that’s doing well but it’s doing well after 12 games, and that’s all.
Bedding in process still? Always learning, and looking to improve in everything you do. Whatever part of the season it is. Any team that stands still and thinks they’ve made it, especially us, isn’t going to make it. We’re not a big puncher in the division so we have to bridge the gap in other ways.
Derby start to season – Not surprised. Huge club in division, a change in manager from one very good manager to another who I’m sure will go on to be very good. He’s changed how they play, as I did when I came here, and I’m not surprised they’re going well. Huge amount of games to go, we want to keep it going and we’ll have to play well on Saturday to get a result.
Feelings on Frank Lampard – Not bothered about any other managers, how they come into the game and where they start or finish. Only interested about us. Just go about it in my own way and won’t copy anybody.
Considering rotating? Tricky games all way through season, no easy way through season. Might change it through schedule, lack of form, tactically, injury or suspension. Last season we played players out of position.
How proud of squad so far? Proud of any side that puts a red and white shirt on, runs about and tries to win a game of football. But we know there's a long way to go, never get carried away with ourselves but won’t change way we play or strut around thinking we’ve made it. But we’re confident we can be a match for anyone on our day, if we play well. We always give ourselves an opportunity to win a game of football, and that’s all I can ask for them.