Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder is going into tonight’s game against Newcastle with his “eyes wide open”.
Blades are set to face Newcastle United at home at Bramall Lane tonight at 7.30pm.
With seven games in the next four weeks, Wilder’s team have their work cut out to sustain their current Premier League success.
Standing at seventh in the league, Sheffield Utd came up from the Champions League with a hunger to win that Wilder agrees many were not expecting.
Wilder said that every game is about Premier League survival, and has refused to group games due to the outstanding quality of football Sheff Utd are up against.
Wilder said: “We’ve shown that we’re competitive on a given day” and insists his team are always looking to get their next 3 points to further secure their Premier League position.
As a manager, and team, with a special relationship with Newcastle, the game is even more important.
Wilder has long been a supporter of the LMA (League Managers Association) and thinks it is important to have an amiable working relationship with fellow managers.
Considering Steve Bruce something of a mentor, Wilder applauded Bruce’s successful career, saying: “To have worked in the Premier League for as long as he has is testament to what he’s about.”
Sheffield residents may have their own opinions of Bruce, with him having completed a short spell as Sheffield Wednesday manager last season.
Defender Chris Basham, a Geordie player who was released by Newcastle aged 16, agreed that he had something to prove tonight.
He said: “It’s obviously one that’s close to me and my family and my mates back home, but it’s just another game, and another game that we can win hopefully.”
Both Wilder and Basham acknowledge the threat of a team as strong as Newcastle, with Wilder pointing to their previous successes this season: “We’re going into a game on Thursday night against a team that’s drawn with Manchester City, beat Tottenham away, beat Manchester United at home, that’s beat Bournemouth at home, and have had some really excellent results, especially against the top sides.”