Stars are aligning after Chris Wilder master class as Sheffield United earn two bites of the cherry in Premier League bid

Stars are aligning after Chris Wilder master class as Sheffield United earn two bites of the cherry in Premier League bid

SHEFFIELD UNITED headed to Spain for a warm weather training break having ensured two bites at the cherry in a bid to return Premier League football to Bramall Lane. Chris Basham’s winner at Leeds means with eight matches remaining the Blades fate is, for now, in their own hands as manager Chris Wilder demonstrated yet again his uncanny decision making.

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Did Sheffield United make Duff decision in bore draw at Hillsborough?

Did Sheffield United make Duff decision in bore draw at Hillsborough?

WHAT was all the fuss about? A third successive Sheffield derby draw didn’t live up to the hype or the occasion at Hillsborough. But did United make a major mistake by leaving Mark Duffy on the bench? The attacking midfielder whose contribution in the Blades previous visit to S6 has become part of Steel City showdown folklore.

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Season starts here for Owls – Much more than just bragging rights at stake in latest showdown between resurgent Sheffield Wednesday and Chris Wilder's high-flying Blades

Season starts here for Owls – Much more than just bragging rights at stake in latest showdown between resurgent Sheffield Wednesday and Chris Wilder's high-flying Blades

MUCH more than bragging rights rest on the outcome of the latest Sheffield derby, particularly if you are a Wednesday fan. That’s the view of guest writer Andy Elliott, a lifelong Owl and former national newspaper sports journalist who runs his own sports media organisation.

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They're clearly Sheffield's No1 but cool heads and steel hearts needed at Hillsborough if Sheffield United are to get promotion bounce

They're clearly Sheffield's No1 but cool heads and steel hearts needed at Hillsborough if Sheffield United are to get promotion bounce

ANOTHER derby showdown and for Sheffield United undefeated in six matches, third in the Championship table and with high hopes of winning promotion to the Premier League, they don’t come much bigger. But the Blades need to deploy their newly-found skill of game management at Hillsborough to make this one really count.

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Sheffield United find last piece of jigsaw and boost bid to return Premier League football at Bramall Lane

Sheffield United find last piece of jigsaw and boost bid to return Premier League football at Bramall Lane

SHEFFIELD UNITED have found the last piece of the jigsaw in their bid to return Premier League football to Bramall Lane. Game management, which has so often eluded the Blades this season, came into play at The Hawthorns where they defended a 1-0 first-half lead over formidable promotion rivals West Brom. More of the same and the top flight will look a good deal closer.

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No calculated spin of the dice for Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder with stakes so high for Blades at The Hawthorns and Hillsborough

No calculated spin of the dice for Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder with stakes so high for Blades at The Hawthorns and Hillsborough

SHEFFIELD UNITED have reached what could be a defining two fixtures in their promotion bid. Starting at promotion rivals West Brom followed by a trip to Hillsborough. Chris Wilder gambled with his strikeforce in what turned out to be a spectacular success in a 4-0 home win over struggling Reading. But he won’t be spinning the dice as far as these dates are concerned.

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Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson heading for Premier League no matter what fate awaits Blades at Bramall Lane

Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson heading for Premier League no matter what fate awaits Blades at Bramall Lane

DEAN HENDERSON is one of the big success stories of Sheffield United’s Championship campaign. The 21-year-old loanee goalkeeper from Manchester United is playing a pivotal role in their promotion campaign. The Cumbrian has struck up a great relationship with Blades fans and boss Chris Wilder would undoubtedly like to keep him. But that is only likely if United are playing Premier League football next season.

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Wilder salute as Sheffield United learn their lesson and gain ground in promotion bid

Wilder salute as Sheffield United learn their lesson and gain ground in promotion bid

NORMAL service resumed at Bramall Lane as Sheffield United gained ground in their promotion bid with a thoroughly professional performance to beat promotion rivals Middlesbrough 1-0. Richard Stearman came off the bench to head the winner. Listening to him afterwards it is easy to understand how the defender represents the embodiment of the culture manager Chris Wilder has painstakingly created.

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Sharp spells it out for Sheffield United who must answer some big questions after collapse at Aston Villa rekindles doubts

Sharp spells it out for Sheffield United who must answer some big questions after collapse at Aston Villa rekindles doubts

BILLY SHARP’s moment of personal achievement was overshadowed by Sheffield United’s collapse at Villa Park in which they squandered a three-goal lead to leave with a point. The skipper’s hat-trick made it 101 goals for him in a Blades shirt. Sharp, however, still believes it can be regarded as a good point if he and his teammates come up with the perfect response, starting at Middlesbrough.

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Duffy answers critics and sends timely reminder to boss Chris Wilder after helping keep Blades in the pink

Duffy answers critics and sends timely reminder to boss Chris Wilder after helping keep Blades in the pink

MARK DUFFY began the week rebutting bizarre claims about his level of fitness. Then dropped to the bench at Carrow Road Road, he came on to provide a pin-point ball which enabled Sheffield United to claim a deserved point in a 2-2 draw against a slick and well organised Norwich City. The 33-year-old midfielder, who joined the Blades on a free transfer in 2016, remains a class act.

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Sheffield United striker Leon Clarke set to leave Bramall Lane as Blades boss Wilder eyes quality replacement for promotion push

Sheffield United striker Leon Clarke set to leave Bramall Lane as Blades boss Wilder eyes quality replacement for promotion push

LEON CLARKE is set to leave Sheffield United after being left out of the trip to Norwich City to consider offers. The striker top scored for the Blades last season with 19 goals and extended his contract to 2020 but has since struggled and lost his starting place in this campaign.

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Former Sheffield United' boss Neil Warnock scores own goal at Cardiff City in Brexit rant

Former Sheffield United' boss Neil Warnock scores own goal at Cardiff City in Brexit rant

NEIL WARNOCK, the former Blades boss, joined the Brexit debate and scored a spectacular own goal as his current club Cardiff City, owned by Malaysian xx issued a statement to distance themselves from his comments which included “to hell with the world”. Warnock’s outburst is all the more surprising given the industry he works in.

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Is seems there is little future left for Sheffield United striker Ched Evans, on loan at Fleetwood Town, who is being left behind by high-flying Blades at Bramall Lane

Is seems there is little future left for Sheffield United striker Ched Evans, on loan at Fleetwood Town, who is being left behind by high-flying Blades at  Bramall Lane

CHED EVANS’ days at Bramall Lane looked numbered. The 30-year-old striker, on loan at League One Fleetwood Town, has not even been mentioned by Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder as he looks to bolster his forward options in a bid to reach the Premier League. Gary Madine’s arrival pushes Evans even further out of the reckoning.

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Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder hints that stellar signing to boost strike options for Blades is still on the cards as Bramall Lane fans signal they are prepared to grant bad boy Madine a pardon

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder hints that stellar signing to boost strike options for Blades is still on the cards as Bramall Lane fans signal they are prepared to grant bad boy Madine a pardon

GARY MADINE is far from what Sheffield United fans had in mind when manager Chris Wilder talked up the need for a top quality striker to make the difference in the push to secure Premier League football. But Wilder is hinting that a stellar signing is still possible before the January transfer window closes and supporters have indicated they are prepared to give bad boy Madine benefit of the doubt.

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Sheffield United at January crossroads and now is time for Blades battling co-owners to reveal their true direction of travel at Bramall Lane

Sheffield United at January crossroads and now is time for Blades  battling co-owners to reveal their true direction of travel at Bramall Lane

THE ball is now firmly in the court of Sheffield United warring co-owners as the club enters the New Year on a Championship high. But will they take it? it’s time for them to put their cards on the table. Cost of rebuilding to compete and stay in the Premier League may be a price too high as battle for control of the club continues. But with or without their help manager Chris Wilder is determined to get there.

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Wilder needs charm offensive as shocked Sheffield United fans find Gary Madine becoming a Blade hard to stomach at Bramall Lane

Wilder needs charm offensive as shocked Sheffield United fans find Gary Madine becoming a Blade hard to stomach at Bramall Lane

THERE is no love lost between former Sheffield Wednesday striker Gary Madine and Sheffield United fans. Which makes it even more remarkable that the man who hasn’t scored a single goal since joining Cardiff City a year ago, is joining the Blades on a six-month loan to bolster their bid for Premier League football.

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Blades were arrogant and I won't forget it says stunned boss Wilder after Sheffield United's FA Cup humiliation against non-league Barnet at Bramall Lane

Blades were arrogant and I won't forget it says stunned boss Wilder after Sheffield United's FA Cup humiliation against non-league Barnet at Bramall Lane

CHRIS WILDER launched a blistering attack on his Sheffield United players after a shocking FA Cup exit to non-league Barnet at Bramall Lane. His confidence was shaken after a much-changed side, featuring largely second string players, produced a dismal, lacklustre performance against a team sitting 15th in the National League. The Bees were worth their victory and received a standing ovation from Blades fans at full time.

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Leading Sheffield United into Premier League would be some story says English league football's 21st century super striker Billy Sharp

Leading Sheffield United into Premier League would be some story says English league football's 21st century super striker Billy Sharp

BILLY SHARP’S 220th English league goal scored in the New Year’s Day 3-0 win at Wigan confirmed him as this century’s leading marksman. Now the Blades captain has set his sights on fulfilling another dream by leading Sheffield United into the Premier League.

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Sheffield United skipper Billy Sharp ready to welcome cavalry in January transfer window as Blades bid to solve strike problem at Bramall Lane

Sheffield United skipper Billy Sharp ready to welcome cavalry in January transfer window as Blades bid to solve strike problem at Bramall Lane

BILLY SHARP continued to cut a frustrated figure as Sheffield United failed to claim all three points despite a dominant display in a 1-1 draw at bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Town. It is becoming a familiar tale but the Blades skipper and top scorer who claimed his 13th goal of the season, is hoping new arrivals in the January transfer window will change all that.

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Quick fix could work for Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder if warring co-owners are really listening

Quick fix  could work for Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder if warring co-owners are really listening

SOME Blades fans are dismayed that Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has been limited to loan signing in the January transfer window. But a quick-fix policy without a lasting commitment may work in the manager’s favour if Sheffield United’s warring co-owners are prepared to pay big wages. If not the summer departure of Wilder and No2 Alan Knill is almost inevitable.

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