Chris Wilder has warned there will be no room for slackers at Sheffield United next season after vowing to stamp his authority on Bramall Lane.
And Wilder, who took charge of the League One club earlier this month, reassured supporters disillusioned by its performances under Nigel Adkins that he will play “effective football” next term.
“Disciplined, organised and definitely competitive,” Wilder told The Star. “That’s what my teams look like and that what we expect. Competitive is a very important word for me.
“You’ve got to win your headers, win your tackles and win your races. If you do that, then you can play.
“We want effective football. A will to win. That’s the biggest thing.
“You can’t always do it. You have to accept, unfortunately, that at times there will be bumps in the road. But you need that work ethic and that honesty if you want to be successful. And, like I say, play effective football. Always.”
United parted company with Adkins after finishing 11th in the table last season. Wilder, despite refusing to comment on his predecessors’ tactics, indicated he will adopt a much more aggressive approach after leading Northampton Town to the League Two title five weeks ago.
“What happens in both boxes is huge,” Wilder added. “When you get to the top of the pitch, something has got to happen. When the ball comes in to our box, you have got to stop in going in the back of the net. When we have got the opportunity to punish teams, then we have to take that opportunity. Be ruthless and make sure it really counts.”
Wilder yesterday continued the process of reorganising his backroom staff when it was that Lee Turnbull, United’s head of recruitment, had left South Yorkshire. Matt Prestridge, who previously worked under the 48-year-old and his assistant Alan Knill at Sixfields, was duly unveiled as the club’s head of sports science.
“That honesty, that work ethic and desire, has to come from every individual within the team,” Wilder said. “We like to play decent football from box to box. But, when you pass the ball, we have to pass it forwards. When we run, we have to try and run forwards. Be decisive and committed at all times. That’s what people want to see, I think. And that’s what I want to see too.”
Wilder, a former United player, added: “We all know what this place (Bramall Lane) can be like when it really gets going. So long as the people here can see that you’re giving everything you’ve got, then they’ll get right behind you. So, at the very least, that’s what we are going to be doing. Giving everything, absolutely everything, we’ve got.”
Meanwhile, Robert Page was last night poised to be named as Wilder’s replacement at Northampton. Page, who made 128 appearances for United before joining Cardiff City in 2004 has spent the past two years in Staffordshire after previously serving as Micky Adams’ assistant.
Northampton chairman Kelvin Thomas recently confirmed he had begun the process of interviewing “the many” candidates who applied for the post following Wilder’s departure.