Keep calm - Wilson

Walsall vs Sheffield Utd''Utd's John Egan at the end
Walsall vs Sheffield Utd''Utd's John Egan at the end

Danny Wilson will counter the C word with one of his own as Sheffield United face up to a severe test of their promotion credentials: Calmness.

Although he is being confronted with sudden cries of “crisis” in some quarters, Wilson will know this is as much a response to controversial goings-on among his promotion rivals as United’s dip in form.

Unless the world has tipped on its axis overnight, there is absolutely zero chance of the Blades following a trend that has produced shock managerial changes at Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday.

And Wilson can afford to keep his customary cool head in response to seeing a healthy lead in second place reduced to a single point over their nearest and dearest.

In context, United have lost three matches in a sequence of four - all for easily fathomable reasons. First, a tight Hillsborough derby followed by a collapse to Oldham with two men sent-off and another 3-2 defeat at Walsall with a wholly makeshift back four.

Much of the backbone will be restored at Brentford on Saturday now that Harry Maguire and Matt Lowton are clear of one-match bans. Neill Collins, though, is under no pressure to return amid his absence for personal family reasons.

The cruciate ligament damage suffered by left back Lecsinel Jean-Francois is clearly a severe blow for player and club - potentially leading to a year on the sidelines - despite the drafting in of temporary signings Matt Hill (Blackpool) and John Egan (Sunderland), who both made debuts at the Bescot Stadium.

But Wilson is confident of a return to the stability of before, talking of “regrouping to get back where we were” and insisting: “There’s nothing to be gained from panic.”

Such a response comes naturally to Wilson, an experienced manager well liked by players for his even-handed approach but one who can also crack the whip occasionally when necessary.

This is not one of those times as Wilson looks to restore the form and confidence disrupted by a twist of circumstances more than anything.

In truth, United were not at their best in the derby and were deservedly beaten in the end despite entering the arena as the much more settled of the two Sheffield sides.

But that was not necessarily a turning point because the Blades, albeit sketchily, recovered to beat Scunthorpe at the Lane three days later.

It was more the second half turnaround last Saturday, when United appeared to be cruising with a 2-0 half-time lead only to be caught from behind, that has jangled a few nerves.

And this in turn triggered the Walsall defeat.

Wilson will keep a clear sense of perspective in a race for automatic promotion that has had so many twists and turns there are bound to be more in the offing.

Twitter@AlanBiggs1