Sheffield United: Chris Wilder explains the test all potential new signings must pass

Chris Wilder has a close relationship with his players. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Chris Wilder has a close relationship with his players. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage

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Sheffield United’s potential new signings must pass a series of personality tests before being considered for moves to Bramall Lane, Chris Wilder has revealed.

The League One club, which last week outlined plans to strengthen its first team squad when the transfer window opens next month, moved to within a point of leaders Scunthorpe after beating Oldham Athletic three days ago.

Speaking after that match, Wilder claimed that attitude, not ability, has been the driving force behind his team’s climb to within touching distance of Graham Alexander’s side. The same rule of thumb will be applied when deciding which targets United pursue during a month the 49-year-old admits could shape this season’s race for Championship football.

“We’ve worked on bringing good personalities into the football club,” Wilder said. “They bring talent, obviously, but also an attitude where they want to win whatever it takes. I think we saw that in the Coventry game recently. Listen, I’ll have a bark if our standards slip. But probably, after that one, it wasn’t until I stepped away that I realised just how difficult that game was because of everything that was going on. So full credit to the lads for coming through that.”

United, whose visit to the Ricoh Arena was interrupted by two pitch invasions as City’s supporters protested against owners SISU, performed a major cull of the playing staff following Wilder’s appointment in May. Although 13 new faces arrived at the club before August’s deadline for permanent signings, including Mark Duffy, Caolan Lavery and Leon Clarke, they are set top adopt a much more surgical approach to the forthcoming window with a replacement for injured winger Harry Chapman United’s top priority. Centre-halves, including Millwall’s Byron Webster, are also being monitored should Wolverhampton Wanderers decide to terminate Ethan Ebanks-Landell’s loan.

Wilder, whose former club Northampton Town are United’s opponents on New Year’s Eve, said: “A win is a win is a win. This club, all of us, can’t get complacent and turn up thinking something is a given. It’s the way we’ve worked, the attitude we’ve shown, that’s helped us win football matches. I want those lads to still be backed 100 per cent even when the performance levels, which they won’t always be, are as high as everybody wants.”