FEARS about the state of Crawley Town’s playing surface will not alter Sheffield United’s commitment to passing football, Danny Wilson insisted last night.
Groundstaff at Broadfield Stadium, where Wilson’s team return to League One action this afternoon, sought to address those concerns by carrying out a programme of emergency work yesterday.
Around 40 tonnes of sand have been spread across a pitch scarred by divots following the country’s wettest summer since 1912 but the United manager said: “We know the way we like to go about our business. We know the style which suits us best.
“It’s not something we are going to go down there fretting about.
“If we have to adapt then we’ll adapt. If we have to adjust things slightly then we’ll adjust them.
“But what we’re not going to do is fly into a blind panic about things and start changing this and that before we even get down there.
“We’ve got the people here to cope.”
Richie Barker, Wilson’s counterpart in West Sussex, admitted he “felt sorry” for his players after the pitch deteriorated dramatically during a recent game against Shrewsbury.
Barker, a former Sheffield Wednesday striker, worked for Wilson after joining Hartlepool in 2007 and said: “I get on really well with Danny. He is probably the best manager I have ever played under.
“I learned the most from him in terms of man management out of all the managers I played under. He is excellent to work for and we had a good time together at Hartlepool as we went the best part of half a season without getting beaten.
“Quite a bit of the way I work I have taken from him. You take notes and learn from people although you obviously adapt it to suit yourself as you cannot be something you are not.”
With Crawley 10th in the table - seven places and five points behind United - Wilson said: “Richie has done ever so well down there. He’s galvanised his team and has brought the best out of some really good players.
“Just because people aren’t household names doesn’t mean they’re not very good footballers and we know this is going to be a tough game at a very tight and difficult ground.”
United midfielder Kevin McDonald will undergo a late fitness test before Wilson selects his starting eleven at Crawley.
Did you know? Crawley Town have admitted they will be forced to relay their entire pitch, at an estimated cost of £100,000, when the League One season finishes next year.