Chris Wilder has expressed his anger at the decision to reschedule Sheffield United's visit to Middlesbrough later this month.
Originally set to take place on August 21st, the match will now take place three days after United's opening match of the new season, against Swansea City this weekend.
The decision to bring the fixture forward by a fortnight was taken because Tony Pulis' side host West Bromwich Albion in a game rearranged for live SKY broadcast on August 24th. The seventy-two hour gap between that fixture and their original date with United was regarded as insufficient, which prompted the alteration to the Championship programme.
"It's been governed by SKY and EFL changes, which I'm not too happy about," Wilder said, after unveiling new loan signing Ben Woodburn earlier today. "I understand games being changed from Saturdays to Fridays or from Saturdays to Sundays but not by a couple of weeks."
Like United, whose meeting with City is also being televised, Middlesbrough will receive £100,000 from the satellite channel after home clash with Albion was selected for coverage. United's last appearance at the Riverside, a 1-0 defeat a year ago, ended in controversial circumstances when Jack O'Connell's added time 'equaliser' was ruled-out for reasons still unexplained. Wilder and his coaching staff were told by the match officials the defender had been adjudged, wrongly it later transpired, to have strayed offside but several United players told The Star the referee had informed them their team mate had been penalised for a foul. Once again, replays confirmed no offence had taken place before the goal was scored.
Although reports in the North-East suggest United agreed to switch their date with Middlesbrough, Wilder added: "Like I say, I'm honestly not happy about it. If you look at the Premier League, it goes from round one to round two and so on. Everyone basically plays over the same weekend unless there is a postponement for some reason. That's something we've got to look at, I think. And we've also got to get our heads around the fact we'll be playing in midweek when no one else is."