Chris mer­its his shot at sec­ond tier

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE -

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...

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