Sentiment is not usually a word associated with Chris Wilder.
After all, this is a manager who demands his players fight, battle scrap and do whatever else it takes in order to succeed.
But, as Sheffield United prepare to make their first appearance at Bramall Lane since beating Peterborough nearly a fortnight ago, Wilder has spoken in emotional terms about the power of the home support.
“I always under the power of the fans,” Wilder, speaking ahead of this evening’s meeting with Bristol Rovers, said. “Hopefully, at the moment, they are enjoying watching their team. And, without being soppy, that’s what it’s all about. They pay the wages so they should turn-up and be excited by what they see. Yes, there will be off days and low points. But we don’t just want them to come along out of a sense of duty, because that’s what you do if you’re a Unitedite. We want them to feel a part of things as well.”
United stretched their unbeaten run in League One competition to five matches after drawing at Scunthorpe last weekend. Billy Sharp’s 85th minute penalty secured a point for the visitors following Chris Basham’s sending-off.
Wilder, who has overhauled the squad he inherited from Nigel Adkins in May, could make his 14th signing since returning to South Yorkshire after watching trialist Cameron Stewart in action yesterday.
“I walked away from our last match here (against Peterborough) and felt like the atmosphere was getting back to where it should be,” the former United defender said. “There does seem to be a bit of a feel good factor but we are the ones who determine how that goes. So we need more of the same, getting on the front foot, getting after the opposition, trying to create opportunities and win games. There will be times when the supporters have to lift the lads but it does start with us.”