Sheffield United: Which two rival managers helped Chris Wilder prepare for this season’s Championship push?

Sheffield United have made a strong start to the new season: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Sheffield United have made a strong start to the new season: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Chris Wilder sought advice from two managerial rivals before Sheffield United embarked upon their first Championship since 2011, it emerged last night.

Speaking ahead of today’s meeting with Norwich City, Wilder revealed he canvassed the opinions of Sean Dyche and Gary Rowett after leading his squad to promotion, admitting the division had changed beyond all recognition during United’s period in exile.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche

Burnley manager Sean Dyche

“There’s a lot of guys I speak to,” Wilder said. “I spoke to Sean Dyche, who is a very grounded bloke, about his time in the Championship because he’s done brilliant wherever he’s been. I spoke to Gary Rowett, who is exactly the same. “You speak to people all the time but obviously some more than others. When you see people on the circuit, conversation quickly gets around to football.”

Wilder has put the information he gleaned to good use, with United entering today’s game against Norwich City third in the table and two points behind leaders Leeds. Unbeaten at home in league competition since January, they have won all of their previous three outings; including a 3-1 victory over Rowett’s Derby County last month.

Wilder, who recently described Dyche’s achievements at Burnley as “inspirational”, continued: “Last season, when it looked like we were going up, I thought it would be remiss not to get people’s thoughts on it.

“Obviously you don’t talk about it at the time, it wouldn’t be right, but it’s something that you do. It would have been daft not to.

Derby County manager Gary Rowett

Derby County manager Gary Rowett

“You can go to games and do all of that but, ultimately, when you get to the coalface, you have to find it out yourself.”

City, who appointed former Borussia Dortmund coach Daniel Farke as Alex Neil’s permanent successor in May, travel to South Yorkshire in 14th place after drawing with Burton Albion in midweek. Two of their three defeats so far this season have come away from Carrow Road and Farke’s hopes of improving the visitors’ fortunes were yesterday dealt a blow when it emerged centre-forward Nelson Oliveira has been ruled-out until the next international break. The Portugal international is receiving treatment for a groin problem.

United’s attacking options have also been depleted by injuries to Caolan Lavery, James Hanson and Clayton Donaldson although Leon Clarke returned from suspension for Tuesday’s win over Bolton Wanderers.

“I’m not going to moan and groan about injuries,” Wilder said. “Obviously it goes without saying that we’d like everybody to be fit. But things like this happen to everybody. You just get on with it and deal with the situation.”