Every member of Sheffield United’s squad understands the significance of tomorrow’s Steel City derby, Chris Wilder reassured his club’s followers last night, regardless of their backgrounds.
Acknowledging they can not compete with Sheffield Wednesday on a financial level, United have talked-up the fact they are captained, managed and co-owned by lifelong supporters ahead of the visit to Hillsborough. Wilder, who also played for United before taking charge last summer, cited the performances of former team mates such as Glyn Hodges and Kevin Gage to assuage fears some of his team might be surprised by the ferocity of the fixture.
“You don’t have to come from the city to know what it’s all about,” he said. “The players will feel the passion. In my formative years here, under Harry (Dave Bassett) in the Nineties, we had a lot of London boys and don’t try and tell me there was no passion from them.”
United won both of their games against Wednesday during the 1991/92 season and, despite spending the past six years in League One, prepared for this meeting two points and three points above Carlos Carvahal’s side in the Championship table.
Revealing his players were asked to research the history of United’s rivalry with Wednesday during their preparations for the match, Wilder said: “I would expect every one of them to have done their homework. They get what it’s all about. We’ll need to be calm and measured but I don’t want to take the passion out. We can talk about good days and bad days but this is a new chapter. We want new memories and heroes. This is an opportunity to do that.”