It has been a productive summer of transfer activity at Sheffield United so far this summer as they will be looking to be competitive in The Championship this season after ending their six-year absence from the second tier under the management of Chris Wilder last term.
The Blades won the League One title last time out and are in the best position out of the three promoted teams to retain their second tier status.
Wilder has made several signings this summer with the likes of Ched Evans, Richard Stearman, John Lundstram, George Baldock, Harry Chapman and more all arriving at Bramall Lane. It is unlikely that United will be bringing in many more new faces this summer as they will not want to upset the balance of the squad following last year’s success.
We take a look at four reasons why Sheffield United can make the step up to The Championship with ease in the upcoming campaign.
Billy Sharp’s goals
Many people felt that the 31-year-old striker’s career was nearing its end when he re-joined his boyhood club two years ago from Leeds United. However, this has proven not to be the case, and he enjoyed one of the most successful campaigns of his career to date with Sheffield United last time out. He found the back of the net 30 times in 49 appearances, a very impressive return.
He has proven he can score goals in The Championship many times throughout his career and will be looking to do the same again this time round. During his time at Doncaster Rovers, Southampton, Nottingham Forest, Reading and Leeds, he always managed to rack up a decent goal tally.
Sheffield United have, without a doubt, got a very talented manager at the helm in the form of 49-year-old Wilder. He is a huge Blades fan having played for the club on two separate occasions during his playing days, and his passion comes across in his management.
To end Sheffield United’s six-year absence from The Championship would have meant a lot to any manager but it meant that little bit more to Wilder.
However, he will have most definitely already moved on from last season’s success and will be looking to ensure that United continue to win games in The Championship this time around. It may well be a tougher division, but Wilder will be expecting his squad to step-up to the challenge.
The Bramall Lane crowd
Sheffield United had an average crowd of 21,892 at Bramall Lane last season, and this is only expected to increase this time round in a higher division. This figure is higher than 14 other teams who they will be facing in the league this season, and that could have a significant impact on their results.
Many players talk about just how much of an impact the home crowd can have during a match, and if they can produce similar atmospheres to what they produced last season, it can really intimidate the away side. If they can maintain a solid home record throughout the season, it should be enough to ensure they remain in the division.
Richard Stearman’s vast experience at this level
The 29-year-old’s arrival at United from Fulham this summer for an undisclosed fee is arguably the club’s most impressive deal in this transfer window so far. Stearman has a vast amount of experience at this level having played for the likes of Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Ipswich Town and most recently Fulham.
It is vital for any Championship side to have this sort of experience among their ranks, especially in central defence which is such an important position. Adding Stearman to the squad certainly makes the United defence look a lot stronger on paper, and a solid defence is the key to any successful side, especially at this level.