Sheffield United receive a fresh warning ahead of visit to Fulham, as social media probe is launched

Sheffield United have been warned they will face a Fulham side which is gathering momentum in the battle for survival and confident of beating anyone in the Premier League at Craven Cottage this weekend.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 5:15 pm

Despite winning only three of their last 18 top-flight matches, Scott Parker’s side have gnawed away at the gap separating them from safety by also drawing nine; including yesterday’s trip to Burnley.

Now only six points behind 17th placed Newcastle, Parker admitted the sight of their rivals from St James’ Park being reeled in has filled his players with confidence ahead of Saturday’s meeting with United.

“I feel like my team can really go and get results in this division,” the Fulham manager said. “I believe we’re very competitive in this league. I feel every game we play we can win, I honestly do.

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“We might only have won three times all season but we’re very hard to beat, and that’s an important quality.”

“Not so long ago, the gap was 10 points,” Parker continued. “Now it’s six, so we are moving in the right direction.”

United remained at the bottom of the table when they lost 3-0 at West Ham on Monday, with Wilder admitting afterwards that aspects of their performance at the London Stadium revealed the pressure his players are under. Describing their poor decision making and tendency to try and over-elaborate as symptoms of a squad struggling to come to terms with the situation it finds itself in. Despite winning six of their last 10 outings in all competitions, a run which has seen them reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, United return to the capital trailing Steve Bruce’s men by 14 points with only 14 matches left on this season’s schedule.

“We’ve just got to keep on going and see what happens, try and get as many (points) on the board as possible and see where it takes us,” Wilder said. “But there’s nothing to be gained from denying it, we need wins and lots of them now. We’ve got to go on a really good run. That’s the challenge we face and it’s one we have to accept. Knowing the lads as I do, I’m confident they will.”

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder takes his team to Craven Cottage this weekend: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Meanwhile, South Yorkshire Police have confirmed they are investigating a malicious communication sent to a United player via one of their social media accounts. Refusing to identify the individual concerned, Wilder told the media last week that the matter had been referred to the “relevant people” because the content of the message “had crossed the line” in a “big way”.

A SYP spokesperson said: “I can confirm that police are investigating an incident of malicious communications and enquiries are ongoing. It is an investigation of malicious communications reported by one individual.”

Speaking at the time, Wilder described the abuse which sparked the probe as “cowardly” and “inhumane”, saying: “I’m sure the police have got better things to be doing with their time, doing the things they do to keep our fantastic city and region safe, but unfortunately this seems to be the world at the moment.”

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Sheffield United have been beaten home and away by West Ham in the Premier League this season: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Scott Parker and Chris Wilder at Bramall Lane earlier this season, when Sheffield United and Fulham drew 1-1: Simon Bellis/Sportimage