Wilson must keep Blades in promotion race

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“Sheffield United is the core of that. The manager was recruited on that basis. He understood that when he came in and is under no illusions.”

Wilson has spoken about the dangers of clubs being attracted to players he wants to keep - Stephen Quinn and Nick Montgomery being prime examples - by a continuing run of good results. But there must be upwards of half-a-dozen players on what would be regarded as good Championship wages at Bramall Lane and the signs are that some of those on the fringe may be offloaded.

Winter is convinced that Wilson’s expertise will cover any shortfalls while making financial inroads at the same time. That’s a hard task for the manager, too, but it is clear that more good results will help his cause as the Blades head for third-bottom Wycombe on Saturday.

Another plus is that United are prioritising the playing side after the McCabe family were accused of creating a distraction with the development of global enterprises including the ownership of foreign teams.

Winter is charged with pulling all the strands together. He said: “Let’s be under no illusions, the pivotal part of my job is the football club. But the potential of the group as a whole is huge and that should not be ignored.

“So many pieces have been completed - the stadium, the hotel and business centre. There is great potential in these. But, yes, the football club is the central piece.”

And he feels it is for his business qualities rather than his football background - he played for United and Huddersfield and had a community role at Sheffield Wednesday after being forced to retire at 27 - that he has been recruited.

Winter, who has an honours degree in recreation management, said: “Although my roots are in playing, my professional life is in football administration.”

One clever strategic move is that United have appointed a senior administrator in Carl Sheiber as the front man for negotiations with players and agents. Chief executives can often get caught in the crossfire of emotive issues, meaning Winter will stay one step removed while dictating policy.

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