Sheffield Derby: Sheffield United’s players are told to embrace the build-up to their meeting with Sheffield Wednesday, not shy away from the excitement

Sheffield United face Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Sheffield United face Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Sheffield United are refusing to shield their players from the excitement surrounding the build-up to Friday's meeting with Sheffield Wednesday, because Chris Wilder believes it would be a futile exercise.

But Wilder has warned that being exposed to the full glare of the spotlight will not excuse a distracted or below-par performance during the game against Jos Luhukay's side.

"The players know what's coming up," the United manager said. "They're not daft, they know what's around the corner.
"In terms of ticket requests, you get them from everywhere. You won't have spoken to someone for six months and then they'll be on the phone and you know what it's about."

Although his attitude to the derby sideshow might surprise some, Wilder adopted a similar approach ahead of last season's fixtures with Wednesday. It proved a successful then - United triumphed at Hillsborough before drawing at Bramall Lane - and the 51-year-old is hoping it does so again later this week.

Wilder, a lifelong United supporter and former player, added: "You have to deal with all of that. That's part and parcel of living in Sheffield and being brought up as we are."