Last updated at 22:44, Sunday 12th August 2012

Blades need bags of character


Mike Holden

Danny Wilson knows all about play-off hangovers and he'll have to deal with his latest one working with a significantly reduced budget at Sheffield United...

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SHEFF UTD

Stability ***


The cost of missing out on promotion last season is difficult to calculate but owner Kevin McCabe has applied further austerity measures with new financial fair play regulations coming into force. The upshot is that United will operate from a substantially weaker base, but they hope their chances of promotion might improve by virtue of the division loosening up around them. McCabe has spoken to potential investors and believes that something might materialise if the club gets back into the Championship, but not before.

Control ****

Danny Wilson made a positive impression in his first year at Bramall Lane and should be trusted to keep the Blades competitive in spite of budgetary restrictions. The former Bristol City, MK Dons, Hartlepool and Swindon boss has spent 11 of the last 12 seasons managing at League One level. He has never achieved promotion in that time, but he has reached the play-offs on four occasions and knows the requirements. United won 25 out of 36 matches against teams outside the top six last term.

Mood **

Wilson will be hoping history doesn't repeat itself. Two years ago, he lost a play-off final with Swindon and, stripped of a 45-goal strike partnership, the Robins were relegated the following season. We shouldn't entertain the idea that United could succumb to the same fate, but it does provide a relative illustration of how teams can be paralysed by play-off hangovers. With no cross-city rivalry to spur them on, the Blades will need to show bags of character to get themselves back into the mix.

Development ***

According to Wilson, United started their preparations for the new camapign some four or five weeks behind the rest of the division due to protracted discussions with the board over his budget. Since then, recruitment has been stalled by key players mulling over new deals. It's not an ideal situation and a decent start could be imperative in fending off any lingering negativity. When Wilson eventually gets round to conducting some transfer business, a proven goalscorer will be his priority.

Arrivals:

Darryl Westlake (Walsall), John Cofie (Man Utd).

Departures:

Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa), Ched Evans (released), Steve Simonsen (released), Chris Morgan (retired), Johannes Ertl (released), James Beattie (released), Andy Taylor (released), Seamus Conneely (Sligo Rovers), Marc Warren (released), Connor Brown (Oldham).

Back Sheffield United to win promotion from League One at 7/4


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