Chris Wilder is happy for people to talk-up Sheffield United’s chances of causing a major upset in the Championship this season following their strong start to the campaign.
United enter tomorrow’s game with Norwich City third in the table and searching for a fourth straight win after beating Derby County, Sunderland and Bolton Wanderers.
Wilder, who led United to the League One title last term, acknowledged those results have prompted some to revise their assessment of what would constitute a successful finish but said: “If we have to deal with growing expectations, that’s a situation we’d love to deal with. If they do, then so be it. Everybody here, the staff, the players and myself included, recognises that this is a club that’s expected to do well.”
United moved to within two points of leaders Leeds when they edged past Bolton in midweek. Cameron Carter-Vickers scored the only goal of the contest midway through the first-half after making his debut against Phil Parkinson’s side, who remained in 24th place.
“It’s important we keep a lid of it in terms of where we are at,” Wilder said. “It’s still very early in the league but, listen, we’re delighted where we’re at.
“I can’t think of any manager who wouldn’t want to be at the top or near the top at the start of the season. It breeds confidence. I’d rather be where we are than our opponents on Tuesday night, even thought it is early doors.”
“We’ll enjoy it but we’re grounded,” Wilder added. “I’m a grounded manager and we’re a grounded staff. The attitude, we’ll make sure, is right. We don’t stroll into any game thinking we only need to turn up. Take Tuesday, I’m not surprised with the lads attitude, but beforehand we told them ‘If you’re not at it, you’ll get turned over here.’ They were and we weren’t.”
Wilder, speaking at United’s training complex, admitted Clayton Donaldson could miss the visit of Norwich after injuring a hamstring at the Stadium of Light last weekend. But midfielder Samir Carruthers (inset) is set to feature following a calf problem.
Donaldson netted twice during the 2-1 win on Wearside and Wilder said: “It’s touch and go with Clayton, we’ll see how he is but won’t take any risks whatsoever.”