There were times last season when Chris Basham felt confused.
Not by the sight of Sheffield United, who had once again started the campaign as title favourites, languishing in mid-table. Results explained that.
But because, from one week to the next, he never knew where he might play. Like his team mate Matt Done, Basham found himself shunted all across the pitch as United searched for a winning formula during the dying embers of Nigel Adkins’ reign. Chris Wilder, who took charge four months ago, has adopted a much more settled approach towards tactics and selections. Which, Basham admitted earlier this week, suits him just fine.
“It’s been brilliant for me just to concentrate on the midfield position,” Basham said. “The gaffer told a few of us after coming in that, first and foremost, we’d be used in our preferred positions. There might be times when we have to fill in but, pretty much, that we’d stay in the same role.
“Sometimes last season I was being coached as a midfielder, then come Saturday I was being played as a wing-back or centre-half position because someone else had dropped out.”
United enter today’s meeting with AFC Wimbledon hoping to record their third straight win in League One competition following victories over Oxford and Gillingham. Basham, speaking ahead of the match, cited Wilder’s strategic approach towards recruitment as a factor behind their improved performances. Together with the coaching methods of his assistant Alan Knill.
“Being coached by Alan Knill has been brilliant, just as a midfielder, and nothing else,” Basham said. “The gaffer has seen the weaknesses in the team and brought in players who can play all over the park. We have strength all over the pitch now. I can’t see a position where we are weak in. The good thing is we have got men in who know this league and know how to get out of it.”