Chris Wilder has rejected accusations he is guilty of mind-games by saying Sheffield Wednesday are expected to win this weekend’s Steel City derby.
But, citing the difference in spending power between the two clubs, Sheffield United’s manager insisted his team is equipped to upset the odds at Hillsborough on Sunday.
“They are under pressure to get out of this division,” Wilder said. “If you look at the price of things, the wages they pay, the tickets, that’s the way it geared-up to be going.
“All that money, all that dough. Are they favourites? Of course they are.”
United, the reigning League One champions, are three places above their arch-rivals in the table. But Wednesday, managed by Carlos Carvahal, have reached the play-offs in each of the last two seasons.
“I’m not playing mind games or anything like that,” Wilder added. “They are under pressure to get out, that’s a statement of fact from them. I like Carlos, I’ve done a few bits with him on the circuit and he’s a genuine guy. So I’m not playing games and, make no bones about it, we are a dangerous team.”
United could enter the match with only one recognised centre-forward at their disposal unless Billy Sharp, Clayton Donaldson or Leon Clarke recover from injury. Although Carvahal has a wealth of attacking options to chose from, including former Celtic striker Gary Hooper and £8m signing Jordan Rhodes, Wilder warned it would be a mistake to write his players off.
“I think (the atmosphere) it gives you the extra yard, the extra spring to jump higher and run quicker,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it. That’s what these games represent.
“I believe there will be two teams going about it full tilt. I don’t think we’ve got it in us to take a step back. There will be times when they push us back and we have to accept that. Because they’ve got some really good players, especially at the top end of the pitch. We know we are going to have to be at our best to get a result. But, as I keep saying, I don’t think this is going to be a totally one-sided affair. We can cause them problems with the way we play.”
“When you look at the stats, we’ve had double the amount of possession, passes and penalty area entries against some very good sides this season,” Wilder added. “We are a dangerous team. We’ll need to keep our discipline but we do that. “We’ve had two red cards in two seasons and I think that’s a decent return for a competitive and enthusiastic group.”