Summer optimism derailed by Blades' bad start - Interview
Thursday, 9th Aug 2018 06:55 by Clive Whittingham
A fine return to the Championship last season and steady looking summer of transfer business had optimism rising at Sheffield United, but they've started with two defeats. George Howson surveys the lie of the land.
Last season fell away somewhat after a big start, but presumably was seen as a success as your first back at this level for five years?
GH: Last season's start was a huge surprise for even the most optimistic blades. Being top in November was unbelievable and had a lot of us taking photos and screenshots to remember the moment. Despite dropping off, we were proud of our achievements and level of play last season.
Some big incomings and outgoings in the summer, tell us about your summer transfer business and how the squad shapes up at the end of it?
GH: We've not signed many new players, Wilder opting for consistency rather than buying for buying's sake. John Egan is our new record transfer at the back and David McGoldrick could prove to be a shrewd acquisition. David Brooks has been the big departure, some claiming up to £15m to Bournemouth, but he won't be hugely missed, especially since we signed Liverpool youngster Ben Woodburn, who has been impressive in what little I've seen of him.
Any concerns that the decline in results over the second half of last season might prove difficult to snap?
GH: Before the season started, I wasn't too worried about the bad form continuing, but I'm starting to sweat now. Failing to hold onto the lead against Swansea and being battered by Middlesbrough makes me concerned that we could be in a relegation battle rather than challenging to make the play-offs. You can't take anything for granted in this league.
Presumably Chris Wilder retains universal support among the Blades faithful? Any dissenting voices or criticism?
GH: When we get bad results, questions are always asked, it's universal across football clubs. It'll take a disaster for support for Chris Wilder to waver though, he's one of own and done a terrific job for us. It's easy to forget, but in the season we got promoted, we were winless and bottom after five or six games, it's way too early to be making any rash decisions.
GH: Our midfield is probably our strongest area on paper, but it's been our weakest in our opening two games. I hope at least one of Mark Duffy and Woodburn will start, we need their creativity in the centre of the park alongside John Fleck. Dean Henderson in goal as well may have shipped five so far but it could've and should've been more, he's a great shot-stopper. Our main weakness is up front at the moment. We can score goals using any player, which isn't a bad thing, but it means we can't rely on our strikers. Leon Clarke is very hit or miss and at the moment, he's firmly missing.
Predictions for the weekend, and how you think your season will go…
GH: Loftus Road has been a difficult place for us to go, but I don't think we'll lose like last season. A win isn't out of the question, but I'm going for a score draw 1-1.
The Twitter/Instagram @loftforwords, @GeorgeyHowson95
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