Sheffield United: Chris Wilder gives his thoughts on ‘Big Time Charlies’ and the ties that bind Bramall Lane and Millwall

Ryan Leonard can play against Sheffield United
Ryan Leonard can play against Sheffield United

Nearly one hundred and fifty miles separate Sheffield United and Millwall but, in terms of their culture, the two clubs have more in common than it seems.

Both are managed by former players, both enjoy giving the finger to authority and both, Chris Wilder admitted before his side's visit to The Den, are unashamedly down to earth.

"If you give it the big 'un walking about as a Millwall player, you'll easily get told," he said. "There won't be any big time charlies there I'm guessing and there certainly aren't any here."

Why Wilder has respect for The Lions:

Despite their predicament towards the foot of the table, Wilder is an admirer of Millwall's attitude and approach. Indeed, it is a measure of the 51-year-old's respect that he has tried to sign at least one of their players, centre-half Byron Webster, since taking charge of United three seasons ago.

Another, Lee Gregory, was also thought to have been the subject of a tentative enquiry during Wilder's first 12 months at the helm. The centre-forward, who progressed through United's youth system, expressed an interest in returning to his former club but Millwall's asking price proved prohibitive at that time.

Sheffield United defender Martin Cranie could make his debut for the club at Millwall

Sheffield United defender Martin Cranie could make his debut for the club at Millwall

"I've always said you've got to take into consideration who you are managing," Wilder replied, explaining the challenges he and Neil Harris have tackled since accepting their present jobs. "You've got to look at what the team's history is about and what their style is about. I think we play in a way that represents our fans and they do as well."

The sub-plot:

Ryan Leonard's likely presence in Harris' starting eleven - the midfielder is on loan from United - provides another fascinating sub-plot to Saturday’s game. Wilder spent the best part of 12 months prising Leonard away from Southend but, only 17 appearances later, was persuaded to sacrifice him during a reshuffle of United's midfield.

No complaints about Leonard:

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder likes how his club and Millwall go about things

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder likes how his club and Millwall go about things

Despite extolling the virtues of new signings Oliver Norwood and Martin Cranie, Wilder insists his decision did not reflect a lack of trust in Leonard's talents.

"I've got no complaints about Ryan whatsoever," he said. "As a professional or as a bloke."

Whereas United's recent results have allowed Wilder to select a settled starting eleven, Harris has not been afforded the same luxury. Millwall, 22nd in the table, have selected five different pairings at centre-half and never played the same right back for more than two consecutive games as Harris attempts to spark them back into life following last term's eighth placed finish.

"You can talk about styles but they've got some really good players," Wilder said. "You don't get into the position they did last year without having those. There's a structure, both clubs have got that, but some talented players too. The same as here."

Millwall manager Neil Harris

Millwall manager Neil Harris