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3 reasons Sheffield United can gain promotion

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It was a short-lived stay in the top flight for Sheffield United. The Blades finished rock bottom with 16 points, notching up just five points more than Derby County’s famed lowest Premier League tally ever. However, there are plenty of reasons to be positive for United fans as they look for an instant return to the promised land.

Chris Wilder – Been there, done that

Wilder was brought in for his second spell at Bramall Lane in December, tasked with steering a sinking ship. Relegation was inevitable, and although there are question marks around Wilder’s ability to cut it in the Premier League, his Championship pedigree cannot be ignored.

In his first spell at the club, Wilder led his boyhood club from League One to the pinnacle of English football in three remarkable seasons, including a record-breaking third division campaign. Even with his relative experience, United are only fifth favourites to be promoted in the Championship odds at 9/2, behind Leeds (13/10), Burnley (21/10), Luton (10/3), and Middlesbrough (7/2).

If the majority of the squad remains intact, fans will be looking up rather than down, and Sheffield United are unlikely to be anywhere near favourites in the Championship relegation odds. Instead, the likes of newly promoted Portsmouth, Derby, and Oxford are likely to be those predicted to drop back down.

In Wilder’s two Championship seasons with the club, he racked up 45 wins, 19 draws, and 24 defeats in 92 games. In his entire first term in South Yorkshire, he managed 106 wins in 227 games across all competitions at an average of 1.59 points per game. He has inherited a decent squad with some standout stars that he will hope to get the best out of.

Goals, goals, goals

In Oli McBurnie, Sheffield United have a decorated Championship footballer. He finished joint top scorer for the Blades in their 2022-23 promotion campaign with 15 goals, also netting six in the recent Premier League season.

With Ben Brereton Diaz returning from his loan to Villarreal and United losing some other attacking options this summer, the responsibility will likely be heaped on the shoulders of McBurnie to drag them to promotion. He is exactly the sort of character suited to the Championship, and if Wilder can bring in a supporting act, McBurnie has proven he can score hatfuls at this level.

Gustavo Hamer

There will likely be a few European clubs, and maybe even some Premier League outfits, sniffing around Gustavo Hamer this summer. Sheffield United must do everything in their power to keep hold of the Dutch midfielder. The 26-year-old was one of the shining lights in an otherwise dismal Premier League campaign.

In his first season since joining from Coventry, Hamer registered five goals and seven assists in all competitions. The Den Haag academy graduate looks well-suited to the physicality of English football, something that will be tested to the limit in the Championship. But with bundles of quality on the ball and plenty of energy off it, Wilder could well become reliant on him.

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