Sheffield United: ‘Don’t make football a non-contact sport’ urges Chris Wilder ahead of Bradford City test

Bolton Wanderers manager and former Bradford City chief Phil Parkinson
Bolton Wanderers manager and former Bradford City chief Phil Parkinson

Chris Wilder has urged Sheffield United’s players to keep their discipline at Bradford City tomorrow, despite warning football must never become a non-contact sport.

Wilder, whose team will climb to second in the table if they win at Valley Parade, argued both sets of supporters want to see their respective teams “compete” after describing them as “working class” clubs.

Bolton Wanderers manager Phil Parkinson accused City of gamesmanship during last month’s meeting between the two sides - “They were throwing themselves to the floor a bit too much for my liking. Every time there was a foul there was a theatrical roll.” - which prompted an angry reaction from his counterpart Stuart McCall.

Although Wilder has no desire to involve himself in that particular debate, he said: “It’s a local derby, it will be a competitive game and we just want to make sure it’s played in the right manner.

“Hopefully it will be, if it’s refereed in the right manner, and both teams have a right go at it. Players have got a responsibility about playing the game in the right way.

“I don’t think supporters want to see players sent off, as we had at Scunthorpe recently, this fixture has a history of players getting sent off. People want to see 11 versus 11 in front of what will be a really big crowd.”

United, who yesterday refused City permission to select McNulty after he moved to West Yorkshire on loan, enter the game unbeaten in nine league outings. Jon Moss, who averages more than five cautions per match so far this season, has been named as referee.

“I want to see my team compete,” Wilder said. “You have seen Stuart McCall play - he was a really good technical player and great passer of the ball - but he weighed in, and made contact with the game.

“Our supporters want our team to do that, and having played at Bradford for a year, and know a tiny bit about them, they are a working class club which gets right behind the team. They want to see their teams to compete.

“Both teams are playing well and we don’t want it altered by outside influences.”

Chris Wilder says supporters want to see committed performances from players. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Chris Wilder says supporters want to see committed performances from players. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Like Wilder, McCall has impressed since being appointed during the close season. City have lost only once under the former United midfielder and occupy one of the two automatic promotion spots.

“Bradford have had a fantastic start to the season,” Wilder said. “They are deservedly up there, and I believe they have been building over the last three years.

“Stuart has come in and added his touch. Sometimes that’s not the easiest when teams are going well. He has kept it going and moved it on.”

Bradford City manager Stuart McCall

Bradford City manager Stuart McCall