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A happy boss

3 January 2017

Chris Wilder was a happy man following Monday's encounter at Bury.


The 3-1 Gigg Lane scoreline completed a maximum points haul over the festive period which leaves the Blades top of Sky Bet League One.


Billy Sharp and Kieron Freeman scored either side of an own goal after Bury had taken the lead through Jacob Mellis.


Wilder told the media afterwards: "It was a great result, but not a free-flowing performance, the conditions didn't allow that. The pitch looked OK, but it was difficult to handle for both teams and with no disrespect to Bury that was something of a leveller.


"Bury have had an upturn in performances recently and they gave us a genuine test. We didn't get outbattled and came away with the right result. We're in a good position, it's exciting and we've set ourselves up to go well, but we just have to remain focused and concentrate on ourselves."


Wilder made changes for the fixture and added: "Jake (Wright) came back into the team and was outstanding, it was a difficult day for the creative players and playing Bash in midfield gave us that extra energy and strength.


"Paul (Coutts) and Mark (Duffy) were excellent on Saturday and worked their socks off to the end with Couttsy setting up the decisive goal, but we felt we needed to give them a breather and we felt Caolan (Lavery) deserved his opportunity."


In addition, Marc McNulty was a surprise addition on the bench after he was recalled from his loan spell at Bradford City.


Wilder explained why: "We're looking for partnerships at the top of the pitch and it's about a combined effort and goals. Bringing Marc back gives us more options.


"Marc wanted to get some football at the beginning of the season and we felt it would benefit all parties, but then within weeks, Leon (Clarke) is injured, Caolan is struggling for match fitness and Matt (Done) gets a fractured jaw and suddenly we're down to one striker.


"But that's a learning curve with the new loan rules and something we've got to note in the future. I've got to protect us, Marc now has an opportunity to stake a claim, he's positive and part of our plans."