Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has described tonight’s meeting with Bury as a “dangerous game” despite the visitors’ miserable run of form.
United, who climbed to second in the table following Saturday’s victory over Shrewsbury Town, enter the match as strong favourites after winning 10 and drawing three of their last 13 League One games.
Bury arrive at Bramall Lane having failed to record a point in the competition since beating MK Dons eight weeks ago but Wilder said: “They are at a bit of a low but we can’t be complacent in any way shape or form. The game is not won on stats or previous performances. The game is won out there on the pitch. They’ll be saying to themselves there’s no better place to get a result than here.”
United’s preparations for the match have been complicated by injuries to Mark Duffy, Kieron Freeman and Paul Coutts. Although he insisted they have the resources to cope, Wilder revealed Chris Hussey and James Wilson could be drafted back into action earlier than expected if all three miss-out.
“We’re assessing them and will give them the best opportunity,” he said. “They’re all at different stages. We’re hopeful they will play but, if they do miss out, we have enough capable replacements to take us forward. It’s part and parcel. “It’s disappointing because they have been influential recently. But we have good, versatile players here. They’re not long term injuries.”
“In an ideal world, James and Chris would have a couple of reserve team games after being out for a while,” Wilder added. “But they’ve been working hard with the conditioners.”
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Bury are without a manager after parting company with David Flitcroft last week. Wilder expressed sympathy with the former Rochdale midfielder - “They’ve got a massive injury list and it kills you” - but urged his players to offer the visitors no encouragement this evening.
“The staff won’t take their foot of the gas and we like to think the group we’ve got won’t either,” Wilder said. “We’ve got players who know this is a potentially dangerous game.
“If the mentality is spot on, it gives us a great opportunity of winning. If not, then that isn’t there. It’s important all of us, staff, players and supporters, don’t take anything for granted. It’s important they, the supporters, keep on giving us the backing the lads need.”
“If you look at their players and their standard individually, they’ve got some really good players. But it’s about the team and you can’t get away from the fact they’ve been on a bad run. We all like to think we know our stuff but, really, you are only as good as your players. David Flitcroft had some amazing times there. So it goes to show why none of us take anything for granted. He won’t be the first and he won’t be the last.”