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Sheffield United: ‘If our rivals think this is pressure, they don’t know the meaning of the word’

Chris Wilder and his assistant Alan Knill (right): Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Chris Wilder and his assistant Alan Knill (right): Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Sheffield United will not wilt under the pressure of a promotion battle, manager Chris Wilder has insisted, after claiming he has faced much more challenging situations throughout the course of his career.

The South Yorkshire club are ninth in the Championship table with eight matches remaining but only two points behind Middlesbrough, who occupy the fourth and final play-off berth.

Having spent six seasons in League One before lifting the title last term, some critics have claimed a lack of second tier experience could cost United dear as they attempt to overhaul Bristol City, Preston North End and Tony Pulis’ squad.

But reflecting upon his previous spells in charge of both Halifax and Northampton Town, who were beset by financial issues at the time, Wilder said: “I don’t like saying but I’ve been to petrol stations and my card was declined because I hadn’t been paid. It’s nice to work and get paid on time or even paid at all. That’s what pressure is. That’s a tough situation.

“It (pressure) doesn’t just happen because you win a few games of football.”

United’s resume their bid for a top six finish at Brentford on Friday before hosting Cardiff City, managed by Wilder’s predecessor Neil Warnock, next week. Middlesbrough and North End also visit Bramall Lane before the end of the campaign while United travel to City on the final day.

“There’s a lot more to that changing room than that,” he added. “If you speak to the players, I would be very surprised if any of them said they’d played in a better atmosphere.

“They might have done. But I bet, if they have, it will be a close run thing. A very close run thing. They’ve got that mentality.”