Chris merits his shot at second tier
AS THE League One season draws to a close today, what better time to applaud the job Chris Wilder has done at Sheffield United this season.
The Blades can reach the century mark in terms of points won if they beat basement side Chesterfield at a buoyant Bramall Lane – and who would back against them?
They are heading to the Championship in style and Wilder, undoubtedly, has been the key to their success.
Some will no doubt say it’s easy to guide a giant like Sheffield United to third tier promotion, but the likes of Danny Wilson, David Weir, Nigel Clough and Nigel Adkins couldn’t crack it before Wilder arrived at his boyhood club last summer and turned their fortunes around.
He served his apprenticeship in Non-League with Alfreton Town, Halifax Town – who went bust – and Oxford United, guiding the latter back into the Football League via the play-offs in 2010.
Later, he kept Northampton Town in the League after joining in January 2014 when they were bottom of the table, and then transformed them into League Two champions last term.
You can understand why the Sheffield United board are so keen to keep him (See page 19) and would be happy to reward him with a bumper new deal.
Results like Wilder has had in the last couple of seasons soon make people sit up and take notice. Not many managers can say they’ve earned almost 200 points in two years!
The 49-year-old always comes across as an honest, down-to-earth guy who you would be happy to have a pint with. He obviously knows how to build the right spirit and camaraderie at a club. There are no airs and graces with him.
There will be bigger battles ahead in the Championship, but no one can begrudge him the opportunity at that level. Expect him to meet the challenge head on.
Right to the wire
IT’S going to be quite a scrap for the final two League Two play-off places next Saturday. If our maths are right, then seven clubs will be fighting it out for the two slots. It’s all set up for a nail-biting finish...