Chris Wilder admits he does not know if he will be Sheffield United manager next season, despite confirming he wants to remain in charge at Bramall Lane.
Wilder, whose team are bottom of the table and look certain to be relegated from the Premier League, feels it is difficult to plan for the 2021/22 campaign because the necessary talks regarding the future “are not happening”.
Asked if he would be at the club next season, Wilder replied: “I don’t know. We always plan short, medium and long term, but that plan is determined by other people than me.
“I’ve not had those conversations. I think they should be happening, but they’re not happening.”
Wilder’s response enhances the suspicions that there is a difference of opinion on key issues behind the scenes at Bramall Lane.
The Blades boss was refused permission to make any new signings during the winter transfer window, with owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud expressing concerns about the club’s recent recruitment record.
Asked if he wants to remain as manager, the 53-year-old said: “Yes, definitely. If we stick to the plan.
“The plan, as always, was to leave a legacy, change things off the pitch, which need changing, and stick with the players we’ve invested in and add a couple and try to bounce back – simple as that.”
Wilder has led the club to two promotions since taking charge in May 2016 and guided the Blades to a ninth-placed finish last season on their return to the Premier League.
He added: “We’ve had a glorious period in the football club’s history, glorious. And I’ve really enjoyed it and being part of it.
“But nothing surprises you in football. You just get your head down and reflect and work away. Things change, we all understand that, but you crack on with it. And I’m cracking on with it.”
Wilder went on to reiterate his belief that the club would be able to hold onto their star players should they be relegated back to the Sky Bet Championship.
The Blades host Aston Villa on Wednesday night and are running out of time as they look to pull off the greatest of escapes, being 15 points adrift of safety with 12 matches remaining.
“I know the players better than anybody, they will want to be here. And they owe it to the football club to be here as well, because we brought them in and gave them the opportunity – and they took it,” said Wilder.
“It’s been a disappointing season but the character of the players was key to bringing them in. They understood the situation, they weren’t signing for a top-four club, they weren’t signing for an established Premier League club.
“They were signing for a club where it is an incredible challenge day-in, day-out to play well and stay in this division.
“Unfortunately it looks like we won’t be, but we will still give it a good go right to the end and try to get some more points on the board and see what happens.
“The players are still contracted to the club as well so the club’s in a good position, with a lot of good, young, talented players that will be a strong group if the inevitable happens.”
Wilder’s squad remains down to the bare bones for the visit of Villa, with none of the injured players set to return.
Jayden Bogle (shin), Chris Basham (hamstring), Jack Robinson (foot), Jack Rodwell, John Egan (toe), Jack O’Connell (knee) and Sander Berge (hamstring) are still out.
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