Sheffield United: Number crunchers are banned by Blades boss

Kieron Freeman is set to return against Scunthorpe. Pic Jamie Tyerman/Sportimage

Kieron Freeman is set to return against Scunthorpe. Pic Jamie Tyerman/Sportimage

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Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, last night warned it would be a mistake to set a points target as his team battles for promotion from League One.

The 49-year-old, whose side will remain top of the table regardless of their result against second-placed Scunthorpe today, used events towards the end of the 2011/12 season to highlight why he places no faith in statistics.

Then, United finished third despite accumulating 90 points before losing the play-off final on penalties to Huddersfield Town and Wilder said: “I think it’s a dangerous game to set points totals. There is the statistical part of it, over the last 10 years, that there is an average that got you up and an average that got you second.

“But knowing our history at this football club, knowing what went off six years ago, it would be a dangerous game to play saying we need to reach a points total.

“That (90 points) would have got you up any other year. We need to get as many points as it needs to take you up.”

Wilder, a lifelong United supporter and former player, guided Northampton Town to the League Two title before returning to Bramall Lane in May.

James Hanson is also expected to feature against Graham Alexander's side: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

James Hanson is also expected to feature against Graham Alexander's side: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“Back then, we never let up,” he said. “Even when everyone was saying it was all sorted, we kept on driving on because you just never, ever know. You can’t leave anything to chance. Then, even when it (promotion) was done, we kept on driving on for our own personal pride.”

United expect James Hanson and Kieron Freeman (pictured) to return for this afternoon’s meeting with Scunthorpe after both missed Tuesday’s draw with Bristol Rovers. Simon Moore is also set to feature despite breaking his nose at the Memorial Stadium.

“We have seven great home games coming up, and lots to play for,” Wilder said. “Until someone says it’s a done deal, then we are in a race with some very good football clubs, some teams that have done great and others who will come late on.”