This is why Sheffield United can cope with turmoil
Chris Basham, the Sheffield United defender, believes Chris Wilder’s refusal to impose wholesale tactical changes on his players will give them the best possible chance of maintaining results over the Christmas period.
United are preparing for Saturday’s game against Aston Villa in eighth - nine places above Dean Smith’s side - after successfully adapting to life at Premier League level.
Although consistency has been a feature of United’s work since being promoted last season - both in terms of the system and personnel they employ - the latter is likely to change over the coming month as they play six games, including January 5th’s FA Cup clash with AFC Fylde in a little over three weeks.
Despite conceding the schedule will present a challenge, Basham, an ever-present in the league since August, said: “The manager doesn’t let us not start well and we know what he wants from us as players. We know our routine of how we play. It’s nice to go into games knowing what’s going to happen and we can’t go into the unknown.”
Basham is among 10 players who have started more than three quarters of United’s outings in the competition since being promoted from the Championship. A veteran of their 2017 League One title winning squad - the first of two promotions Wilder has achieved at Bramall Lane - the centre-half will enter the meeting with Villa two cautions away from triggering an automatic suspension. John Lundstram, John Fleck and George Baldock, who claimed a goal and an assist at Norwich City last weekend, will be forced to miss a match if they are booked against Villa, Brighton and Hove Albion or Watford.
“There’s going to be times in the next few weeks when he (Wilder) is going to have to change the team a bit because of bookings and players going out of form,” Basham said. “But everyone is in top form and raring to go. We all know what we’re doing and how we shape up.”