Sheffield United: Chris Wilder refuses to do another ‘Klinsmann’ if his team wins promotion tomorrow

Chris Wilder  joins in with the celebrations after John Fleck's goal on Wednesday night: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Chris Wilder joins in with the celebrations after John Fleck's goal on Wednesday night: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Chris Wilder today insisted he will not repeat his ‘Jurgen Klinsmann’ style celebration during Wednesday’s game against Coventry City if Sheffield United secure promotion from League One tomorrow afternoon.

Speaking to the media ahead of United’s visit to Northampton Town, Wilder also revealed he has instructed John Fleck not to run towards the visitors’ dug-out if he scores at Sixfields.

Wilder, who dived across the pitch when the former Scotland under-21 international netted a superb solo effort in midweek, said: “That’s the one and only time it’s happening. Well there it is.

“I apologised to (City manager) Mark (Robins), it wasn’t anything to do with Coventry. It’s happened to me a couple of times.

“It’s how I manage, it’s an emotional game. I thought the referee and the official handled it brilliantly too. It wasn’t premeditated, it’s a pressure environment and it’s an important stage of the season. On top of that, it was an excellent goal.”

Fleck’s second-half strike, after Leon Clarke had earlier broken the deadlock, propelled United to a 2-0 victory over Robins’ side and ensured they travelled south today knowing that beating Northampton will guarantee Championship football next term.

“I’ve told John, ‘don’t ever come towards me when you score again.’ He just replied he was quite scared when he saw me coming on and that he tried to shift, get up and go in a different direction,” Wilder joked. “But I don’t regret things. That’s what this club does to me and to thousands of others. There it is. I care.”

Wilder guided United’s latest opponents to the League Two title last season before replacing Nigel Adkins in May.

Northampton, now managed by Justin Edinburgh, are 15th in the table and Wilder has warned his squad that three points are not a formality.

“I said to the players, nobody is going to hand it to us,” he continued. “Coventry didn’t hand it to us and Northampton won’t either.

“Justin’s arrival there has coincided with some good results. He’s done well. What he’s got together is a group that are hard to beat physically, is strong and some really good individuals. It’s a proper ‘man’ team. I know what the atmosphere down there can be like, especially when it’s filled out.

“It will be a hectic half an hour, it probably won’t settle down for 30 minutes or so. But if we compete, then we put ourselves in a good position.”

United set-off for Northamptonshire earlier this afternoon after training at the Steelphalt Academy this morning.

Confirming that Caolan Lavery is expected to be their only absentee, Wilder said: “Everybody is okay, everybody has trained today. We’ve had to adjust our training schedule because we played Wednesday. We toned it down a bit but we’ve trained well and looking forward to a big game tomorrow.”

“We’ve got to pick a team to go there and get a result. We’ll have a look at it but, as always, it’s about the group. They’ve picked up since Justin has come in and he’s turned it around. It’s not always the easiest window to work in, January, but he’s done well.”

“There’s no getting away from the fact it’s exciting times to be involved with the football club, a period of a player’s career they should look back on with fond memories,” Wilder added. “We’re getting backed to the hilt, I thought the atmosphere was incredible again the other night, and they’re driving the players on. We’re away now but, yet again, we’ve sold out in a heartbeat.”