Chris Wilder is relishing the Yorkshire derby this weekend as Sheffield United look to collect their first points of the campaign when they welcome free-scoring Leeds to Bramall Lane.
While the Blades are goalless in opening their Premier League campaign with back-to-back defeats, Marcelo Bielsa’s side have attracted plenty of admirers by finding the back of the net seven times in their opening two games.
Sunday’s fixture will be their first showdown in the top flight in 26 years and Wilder admitted only a clash with Sheffield Wednesday ranks higher in his mind than a game against Leeds.
He said: “For a local boy of course, there’s obviously two teams where it adds a bit more to the game. We have had some fabulous games against Leeds over the years. It’s a big rivalry. It’s always interesting to play Leeds United.
“There’s history between the clubs. You can’t get away from the fact Leeds United are a huge club in English football with what they’ve achieved in the past. It’s great for them to be back in the Premier League.
“We’re looking, obviously, to gain our first points of the season on Sunday against a team that won’t change their approach just like we didn’t change our approach going into the Premier League.
“I’m expecting a competitive game. I’m expecting a game that will be interesting tactically. There are some good players on show, a lot of energy in both teams in distances covered and how they both play.”
After conceding twice in the first six minutes in a 2-0 defeat to Wolves, the Blades were edged out on Monday at Aston Villa in a match where the visitors played with 10 men for 78 minutes following John Egan’s red card.
Egan will be suspended this weekend and could be replaced by either on-loan Chelsea defender Ethan Ampadu or veteran centre-half Phil Jagielka, while Lys Mousset is the only other absentee because of an ankle injury.
Wilder said: “We’re disappointed with the points tally so far but it is early days and there’s plenty of football to be played. These are challenges that we have to come through.
“It’s an easy game when the sun is shining so this is the test of players, teams, individuals, managers and coaches when things aren’t going as well as what you would have wanted them to. It’s no good moaning about it.”
Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun and Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster have been linked with moves to South Yorkshire and although Wilder was reluctant to name drop, he admitted he was eager to add to his forward ranks.
Wilder added: “It’s a difficult one for me to say we haven’t made enquiries about those two players. But overall, I’m not really comfortable speaking about other players at other clubs.
“We’ve enquired about a number of players and hopefully we’ll get one over the line. It’s an area we need to improve.”