Chris Wilder hopeful long-awaited FA Cup win can spark league revival for Blades

Bristol Rovers v Sheffield United – Emirates FA Cup – Third Round – Memorial Stadium
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Chris Wilder believes Sheffield United’s FA Cup win at Bristol Rovers could act as the catalyst for a Premier League revival.

The Blades claimed a first win of the season at the 19th attempt with a 3-2 third-round victory over resilient Sky Bet League One opponents.

Rock-bottom United are 12 points from safety with almost half of the Premier League campaign completed, but Wilder says rediscovering the winning habit will benefit them before Newcastle’s midweek trip to Bramall Lane.

“We have to use it,” Wilder said after a first success since July and his 100th as Blades boss.

“We needed to win a half of football to get us going. We drew the first half and won the second half, and hopefully that gives us a boost going into a real tough game on Tuesday night.

“There’s no downside to it. You’re in it to win and we’ve had that feeling in my four-and-a-half years at the football club pretty regular, even in the Premier League.

“One of the things we have built in that time is an identity of the team, and we had to show those qualities to give us an opportunity.”

Wilder is still battling with an extensive injury and illness list following a Covid-19 outbreak at the club.

He named eight substitutes in the West Country despite being allowed nine on the bench.

Phil Jagielka and Billy Sharp only returned to training on Friday after contracting coronavirus, and George Baldock and Enda Stevens will be assessed ahead of the Newcastle game.

“Hopefully we’ll get a few players back,” Wilder said. “But it’s the worst injury list I’ve had, not only at Sheffield United but in 20 years of management.

“We’ve also got a few players not up to speed, and that is the problem regards the injury list.”

Oliver Burke and Jayden Bogle added to an early Joe Day own-goal for the visitors, with Rovers twice equalising through Alfie Kilgour and captain Max Ehmer.

Rovers were unhappy that the Blades’ second from Burke, the Scotland forward’s first goal since his September switch from West Brom, stood amid complaints over a foul on home defender Jack Baldwin.

“The referee put the whistle to his mouth, but he didn’t blow,” said manager Paul Tisdale, who has dramatically improved Rovers’ fortunes during his seven weeks at the club.

“We feel a bit hard done by. It was a crucial decision that went against us.

“If we play with that amount of passion we have a real chance of doing well.

“There was spirit, energy and fight. Every player gave everything and it’s a good place for a manager to start.”

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