Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has defended his decision to rotate Bramall Lane’s first team squad as the battle for promotion enters a critical phase.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game against third-placed Bolton Wanderers, the 49-year-old insisted it “makes sense” to utilise the options at his disposal after paying tribute to the depth of quality the League One leaders’ possess.
“I have to plot a way through these last 13 games,” Wilder said. “There are some tired boys out there, who sometimes need a break. They’ve played a lot of football and, as I’ve always made clear, this isn’t just about 11 lads. It’s about the group as a whole. That’s the only way you achieve.”
With James Hanson, Joe Riley, Samir Carruthers and Jay O’Shea joining United during the transfer window last month, Wilder recently acknowledged “some really good players aren’t even going to get changed” on matchdays between now and the end of the season. Stefan Scougall and Marc McNulty were among those to miss last week’s draws with Bristol Rovers and Scunthorpe, although the latter did feature on the bench at the Memorial Stadium.
Although United were accused of dropping points against Rovers, especially after making five changes to the starting eleven which had beaten Peterborough three days earlier, Wilder said: “Bristol Rovers is a tough place to go and I am glad we don’t have to go there again.
“It’s a difficult place, the pitch is not great. They still have to host a few of our rivals, which I am delighted about. That was a big result. It doesn’t look spectacular but, with what we’re trying to do, it was.”