Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has told Cardiff City his team will not be intimidated “on or off the pitch” at Bramall Lane on Monday night.
Despite acknowledging the visitors appear destined for promotion and the quality within their ranks, Wilder also cited the physical attributes of Neil Warnock’s side as a factor behind their success so far this term.
But in an apparent reference to his opposite number’s status within English football - Warnock is chasing a record eighth career promotion - Wilder said: “They (Cardiff) can play and they can also battle too. But we won’t be bullied. Not here. Not anywhere. That’s never happened. On or off the pitch.”
To avoid any room for misinterpretation, deliberate or otherwise, Wilder spoke of his respect for Warnock who, during an eight year spell in charge of United, became the last person to guide them into the Premier League.
Two seasons ago, Warnock labelled Lee Johnson’s admission that Bristol City could use “intimidation” tactics “disgraceful” ahead of a meeting with Rotherham; another of his former clubs.
Wilder, who is attempting to emulate the 69-year-old’s achievement at United after delivering the League One title last season, said: “Neil’s track record, here and elsewhere, speaks for itself. I was asked not so long ago if Fulham, because everybody was talking about how they play, were the second best team in the division behind Wolves. I replied ‘no’, that’s Cardiff. They are second in the table, they are there on merit, and so they are the second best team in the competition.”
United, who are only a point behind the play-off positions with seven matches remaining, will assess the groin injury which forced Mark Duffy to miss the Good Friday draw with Brentford before naming their starting eleven.
Simon Moore will start in goal with youngster Jake Eastwood likely to feature on the bench following Jamal Blackman’s red card at Griffin Park. The Blades keeper was involved in an altercation with Bees midfielder Ryan Woods after the home side’s equaliser.