IT is a match which brings together two teams at both the peak of their powers and summit of the table.
But neither Sheffield United manager Danny Wilson nor Chris Powell, his counterpart at Charlton Athletic, believe the final outcome will decide the destination of this season’s League One title.
“It’s a significant game,” Wilson said last night. “It’s a big game in terms of the history and the position of both clubs.
“You could even describe it as fantastic but will it settle things in the promotion race? Of course it won’t.
“If you look at the history of the competition then there’s always someone who comes up on the rails right at the very end and there are lots of really good outfits all vying to go up.
“There’s too far to go, too many potential twists and turns, for anything to get sorted-out here whatever happens.”
The divisional form guide bears out that argument.
Wilson, whose second placed side will move to within a point of leaders Charlton if they prevail at The Valley tomorrow, top that particular ranking while their opponents are seventh, with Stevenage, Carlisle, MK Dons and Huddersfield all posting better results in recent weeks.
“It sounds boring but all we are doing is taking things one step at a time,” Powell said. “That’s all you can do and it’s the right thing to do.”
If styles make fights then United’s 35th contest of the campaign threatens to be a real humdinger.
Wilson has been responsible for not only transforming results but also the visi
tors’ modus operandi since taking charge at Bramall Lane in May.
United have won plaudits for their easy on the eye approach. Charlton prefer to emphasise industry and organisation.
Contrasting philosophies but, the evidence suggests, equally effective.
“We have our way
of going about things and that works for us,” Wilson, speaking at United’s Shirecliffe training complex yesterday, said. “Charlton have theirs.
“But, to be honest, I think too much can be made of stuff like this because if you want to achieve anything then you’ve got to be prepared to work on all aspects of your performance.”
While United have kept the majority of the squad relegated from the Champi
onship last season intact, Charlton have signed over 20 players since Powell’s appointment 12 months ago.
One of those, ex-Barnsley attacker Danny Haynes, is set to be sub if coaching staff keep faith with the starting 11 which edged past Sheffield Wednesday last weekend.
“Charlton have brought in a lot of new faces,” said Wilson. “To be fair, I’ve lost count, but I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way whatsoever because it’s no good just recruiting them.
“You’ve got to make them gel and Chris has quite clearly done that.”
Teams and ref
CHARLTON (Possible): Hamer, Wiggins, Taylor, Morrison, Solly, Hollands, Green, Pritchard, Jackson, Wright-Phillips, Kermorgant (4-4-2).
UNITED (Possible): Simonsen, Lowton, Maguire, Collins, Jean-Francois, Doyle, McDonald, Williamson, Quinn, Evans, Cresswell (4-4-2).
Darren Deadman: Has issued more yellow cards than any other referee in League One this season. But, despite averaging 4.32 cautions per game, the Hertfordshire-based official did not book a single player when he oversaw Colchester’s visit to Bramall Lane in September.
SHEFFIELD United manager Danny Wilson has a near full-strength squad at his disposal for the visit to Charlton Athletic.
Wilson confirmed last night that winger Ryan Flynn has declared himself available for selection after recovering from illness while Andy Taylor also returned to training earlier this week.
The defender has not featured at first team level since December 2010 after suffering a serious injury.
“Andy has told us that he’s fit,” said Wilson. “He’s not actually fit to start a game but he’s over all of the little niggling problems he’s had so that’s great news.
“The reserve-team programme starts up again in a week or two and so he’ll be able to some minutes under his belt and then hopefully push on from there.”
Although Taylor has yet to feature under Wilson’s stewardship, Flynn has emerged as a key figure in United’s plans following a summer transfer from Falkirk.