Sheffield United

In Profile: Chris Wilder's Sheffield United

Brendan Rodgers' Leicester City side welcome Sheffield United to King Power Stadium for their penultimate home fixture of the 2019/20 Premier League season.
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The Foxes entertain Chris Wilder’s side on Thursday, (6pm kick-off), going in search of a 33rd competitive victory against their opponents.

City recorded a 2-1 win over the Blades at Bramall Lane in August thanks to goals from Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes and will be looking to secure another three points this week.

As part of a running feature on LCFC.com, we take a more detailed look at the Yorkshire outfit, who continued their fine form by beating Chelsea 3-0 on Saturday.

The manager

Following a productive playing career which included two spells at Sheffield United, Chris Wilder is one of the most successful managers in recent Football League history.

While the Stocksbridge-born former right-back may only have recently entered the radar of Premier League followers, his record in the lower tiers is incredibly impressive.

Wilder started out at Alfreton Town, where he won the Northern Counties East Football League, League Cup, Presidents Cup and Senior Cup in one season.

Following a six-season stay at Halifax Town, Wilder moved to Oxford United in 2008, eventually guiding the U's to success in the 2010 Conference Play-Off Final.

Another switch, to Northampton Town, followed in 2014 where, in his second full season, he secured the Sky Bet League 2 title - his first of three Football League promotions. 

A move to boyhood club Sheffield United proved too tempting to turn down in 2016 and his maiden season at Bramall Lane ended with them becoming League 1 champions.

After a year of consolidation in the second tier, the Blades launched a magnificent promotion push last season, sealing second place, and ensuring a return to the Premier League.

The squad

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Oli McBurnie
Oli McBurnie

Mousset and McBurnie, pictured, are United's top scorers in the Premier League with six goals to their names in 2019/20.

With the help of smart signings and a talented core of existing players, the Blades have surpassed all expectations during their first season back in the top flight since 2007.

United broke their transfer record to sign midfielder Sander Berge from Belgian side KRC Gent for a reported £22M, while also snaring Swansea City striker Oli McBurnie for £17M. A further £10M was spent on AFC Bournemouth forward Lys Mousset.

The latter pair are United’s top scorers in the league this season, with six goals apiece, while Mousset also holds the club's assist record (4).

A further three players arrived for fees from the Championship in the form of Ben Osborn (Nottingham Forest), Luke Freeman (Queens Park Rangers) and Callum Robinson (Preston North End), who has since been loaned out to West Bromwich Albion.

The signing of former Blade Phil Jagielka - a member of the squad during their last Premier League season - on a free transfer from Everton, has added experience to the backline. Young England goalkeeper Dean Henderson also returned for a second season-long loan from Manchester United.

In January, meanwhile, Wilder added Nottingham Forest left-back Jack Robinson to his ranks, as well as midfielder Richairo Zivkovic from Chinese club Changchun Yatai.

Four players - Enda Stevens, George Baldock, Chris Basham and Oliver Norwood - have appeared in every Premier League game for the Blades in 2019-20 (35).

The trophy cabinet 

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Billy Sharp
Billy Sharp

The Blades won promotion from League 1 at the end of Wilder's first season in charge of the club.

Sheffield United's crowning moment came in 1898 as the club lifted the First Division title by a margin of five points over second-placed Sunderland.

However, they have also tasted success in several other competitions in English football, winning the FA Cup four times, in 1899, 1902, 1915 and 1925.

More recent achievements of note include the League 1 title success in 2016/17, and their Championship runners-up berth last season, securing a place in the Premier League.

United have also spent almost half of their 130-year existence in the top division of English football (60 seasons), only dropping into the fourth tier once, in 1982.

Their most recent stint in the Premier League, though, lasted just one season as Neil Warnock's men finished in 18th-place, losing out on goal difference to Wigan Athletic.

The stadium

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Bramall Lane
Bramall Lane

Bramall Lane is currently the oldest major stadium in the world to still host professional association football matches.

Sheffield United have played their home games at Bramall Lane - an all-seater ground with a capacity of 32,609 seats - since their formation in 1889. 

Remarkably, it is also the oldest major stadium in the world still to be hosting professional association football matches and it also hosted the first floodlit game in the 19th century.

A record crowd of 68,287 crammed into Bramall Lane in 1936, meanwhile, for an FA Cup Fifth Round tie between Sheffield United and Yorkshire rivals Leeds United.

The fixtures

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Sheffield United
Sheffield United

Sheffield United travel to face Southampton on the final day of the Premier League season.

Following their trip to King Power Stadium on Thursday, United host Everton on Monday 20 July (6pm kick-off) and then end the season by facing Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium on Sunday 26 July (4pm kick-off). 

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All times BST. 

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