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Wilder hopeful of sealing deadline day deal for a central midfielder

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder hopes he is “close” to signing a central midfielder ahead of today’s transfer deadline.

Wilder, who has already signed eight players since the Blades won promotion to the Premier League and has broken the club’s transfer record four times this summer, is trying to get another in on loan before the window closes at 5pm.

Wilder also expects a couple of departures from Bramall Lane as the club prepares to make its long-awaited Premier League return away at Bournemouth on Saturday.

“We are trying to add a central midfield player to the group and if we do I’ll be delighted with what we’ve done so far, in terms of what I was given at the back end of last season and how we have gone about it in structure, the age and the ambition and desire of the players we have brought in,” said Wilder.

“I should imagine, like every manager up and down the country, we are close but things can change pretty quickly. But we are just banging away and seeing if we can do something before the window closes.

“It is amazing how it comes down to these last few hours. We did a lot of our work pretty early, which I’m delighted with, but if we can get one more I’ll be delighted.

“If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t then we go with the group we’ve got. It could be an exciting last few hours and one deal sparks other deals. We are waiting for a few things to happen and if they do I will be delighted because we’ve got our eyes on some targets that are going to make us better.

“As regards going out, there’s a couple of bits of interest in Mark Duffy and Leon Clarke, who are established Championship players, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they went by the close of play.”

Sheffield United have been absent from the Premier League for 12 years, since their controversial relegation in 2007 involving West Ham and the Carlos Tevez affair.

As a Blades fan in charge of his boyhood club, Wilder admits it could be emotional when he leads out the team at Bournemouth.

“I’ve always said I’m proud whenever I lead Sheffield United out. I’m focused on the game, I’m excited and of course I’m proud to represent and lead the club back out in the Premier League,” he said.

“It’s been a long way back and obviously there’s going to be a lot of emotion around the fixture but we’re professionals and we have to concentrate on trying to get a result at a very difficult place against a team and manager I have a lot of admiration for.”

The bookmakers have made Sheffield United, who won promotion as runners-up in the Championship, favourites to be relegated this season but Wilder is unperturbed.

“I’m fine with it,” he said. “It’s something we have to embrace. But where would you rather be, playing last week in the Championship or playing in the best league in the world? It’s about opinions and I get that and I don’t have a problem with it.

“Two out of the three that went up last year were relegated so we understand we will be up against it. We understand the journey we have been on and how quickly things have happened and that we will be coming up against some powerful clubs.

“But we will stick together and work hard for each other and we are determined not to just make the numbers up.”

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