Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has paid tribute to his squad’s unsung heroes after watching it open up at seven point lead at the top of League One.
Although Billy Sharp and John Fleck have dominated the headlines this season, together with the likes of Paul Coutts, Simon Moore and Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Wilder insisted the contribution of less glamorous players must not be overlooked following last weekend’s crucial victory over Bolton Wanderers.
“That will always happen in team games, You’ll have your players who grab the headlines and others who go under the radar,” he said. “Billy, Duff (Mark Duffy), Flecky and Big Ethan, who are possibly getting them at the moment, will all tell you how big a part the others are playing.
“It’s about everybody driving it forward. You will always get the players who slip under the radar a little bit. Jake Wright clears one off the line at Chesterfield earlier this season but then others score and get the headlines. That’s fine, it’s what happens. But everybody plays a part.”
United return to action when they visit Rochdale on Saturday for a match Wilder concedes will prove “another real test” of his team’s promotion credentials.
But the 49-year-old, who watched Sharp score twice against fourth-placed Bolton, highlighted the performances of James Hanson and Coutts to hammer home his message.
“James is such an unselfish player,” Wilder said. “He puts himself on the line everytime he goes out there. Couttsy was touch and go for the last one because he hadn’t felt well in the week. But I’m proud of my lads because they put their hands up to play when we ask them to. That’s a great quality to have in a team that’s got 12 or so games left.”