The Stocksbridge-born former Sheffield United manager, who has driven the Teesside club into the Championship playoff places having taken over in November, spoke passionately ahead of their clash with the Blades this weekend amid a Covid outbreak that has sparked positive cases in nine players and 10 staff members.
And with further tests set to be received later today, Wilder said he will have to recall players out on loan in order to build a squad capable of fulfiling the EFL’s controversial ‘14-man’ squad rule.
“It's possibly been the most difficult 48 hours of my managerial career. That says a lot,” Wilder said.
“The game is on. We've talked to the EFL, who have told us we need to do everything we can to get it on.
“We have a number of players that are available and what they've wanted us to do is supplement that group with players out on loan. I can't get my head around that.
“I'll be making a call to [Nottingham Forest manager] Steve Cooper to see if we can have Djed Spence back to sit on the bench. And the same with Lewis Wing. And Rumarn Burrell.
“We'll have to recall the likes of Stephen Walker, Lewis Wing.”
Wing has had a difficult half-season at Wednesday, scoring once in 23 appearances across all competitions. Whether Wilder and his old Bradford City teammate Darren Moore can come to an agreement that sees Wing return later in the January window remains to be seen.
“The blunt message we keep getting back from the EFL is 'you have an obligation to fulfil this fixture'.
“People have been cutting corners. We're not. This is genuine. I'm not that type of manager, this isn't that type of club.
“This is 100% a covid outbreak. We have one injury, and he could play for 30 minutes. Let's put the cards on the table. Will some clubs have bent the rules to dodge a fixture? In my opinion 100%.
“I'm a man of integrity and honesty. I will play a game anywhere against anybody on a level playing field. We have been absolutely decimated from a player and staff point of view.”