Chris Wilder wants to make Bramall Lane the most intimidating ground in the Championship this season.
The Sheffield United manager made the admission ahead of this afternoon’s game against Brentford, which marks his club’s return to the second tier of English football following six years in League One.
Wilder, whose side were beaten only three times on home soil last term, said: “I want it to be horrible. That isn’t chucking petrol bombs at supporters coming out the station, let’s be right. But that, nobody getting a free ride, happened last year, even when things didn’t go right. People didn’t walk out thinking, ‘they’re c**p, I really enjoyed my night, thank you very much.’ You very rarely go through a season and not have disappointments. We want to make people uncomfortable by being aggressive and competitive on the pitch.”
Wilder cited the “bond” between players and supporters as a driving force behind United’s march to promotion earlier this year.
With around 27,000 supporters expected to watch today’s fixture, he added: “ Off the pitch, we want it by being loud and together. The players might need the supporters even more now because of the competitiveness of the division. We want it loud and we want it to be intimidating, in the right way. Being here is a reward for the fans and their belief in their football club. Because, even though there might have been a few moans and groans in the not-so-distant past, their support has never wavered.”
Wilder, who is expected to hand on-loan goalkeeper Jamal Blackman his debut after Simon Moore was ruled-out through injury, has pledged to attack the division despite acknowledging United can not compete financially with the likes of Middlesbrough and Aston Villa.
“Names don’t win games,” he said. “Games aren’t won on paper. You have to respect the quality of clubs and players though. The lift in terms of the managers, the coaching staff and the infrastructures. But they don’t start with an extra goal. We didn’t, with our standing in League One, last year.
“I want us to be physical, I want us to be competitive. If teams dip their toes in against us, I want us to take full advantage. If teams are hanging on, I want us to jump all over their fingers and watch them fall.”