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Sheffield United: Psychology will decide this season’s race for the top-six, manager Chris Wilder says

Chris Wilder says his squad has got real character: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Chris Wilder says his squad has got real character: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Stout hearts and strong minds will decide which four teams reach the Championship play-offs, Chris Wilder has insisted, after claiming this season’s promotion race is still too close to call.

The Sheffield United manager, whose side are eighth in the table, issued his prediction ahead of tomorrow’s game against Queens Park Rangers; which could see the hosts move to within a point of sixth-placed Bristol City.

Although runaway leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers appear destined to be competitng at Premier League level next term, Wilder said: “I think it will change right the way through. It’s changed from the start to October. We went from second to first to second and now where we are. It will swing right the way through. It’s all about consistency levels.”

United climbed to the top of the rankings after beating Burton Albion in November before winning only two of their next 13 league games. But a 2-1 victory over Leeds earlier this month reignited talk of back to back promotions at Bramall Lane.

“Fulham have had a great run, (Aston) Villa have had a great run,” Wilder, who led United to last season’s League One title, said. “(Bristol) City have had a great run pre-Christmas and so have Derby. You just get on with it. If you lose, regroup quickly. If you lose a few, it does hurt you. Likewise, if you win a few it’s the other way around. “

“Look at Villa, not so long ago they weren’t going to do anything,” he added. “Then, they were beating Birmingham in front of 40,000 fans and it was their’s to lose. Then, a few players have to drop out and suddenly the doubts creep in again. That’s why, as a manager, all you focus on is the next game and trying to stick a run together.

“There will be a few teams that still fancy their chances. I think it goes right the way down to possibly 13th of 14th position.”