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Chris Wilder knows Sheffield United can avoid relegation - because he's done it

Chris Wilder knows that Sheffield United can avoid relegation this season.

It looks like an unlikely prospect as things stand, with the club having made the worst start in English top flight history.

Heading into this evening’s match with Everton, they are bottom of the table with no wins and two points from 14 games.

Yet Wilder has been here before. The Blades boss played for the South Yorkshire side in 1990/91 when they made a similarly awful start.

At Christmas, they were bottom of the old First Division with four points and no wins. Sound familiar?

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It was their first top flight campaign in 16 years. Having achieved back-to-back promotions under manager Dave Bassett prior to that term, many thought it was a bridge too far for United.

However, in the new year they won seven successive matches to rise out of the drop zone. They not only avoided relegation, they did it comfortably as they finished 13th.

Three more years in the top tier of English football followed.

The Sheffield United boss remembers avoiding relegation well

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There are some distinct parallels between that Blades team of the early 1990s and the current crop under Wilder.

Both enjoyed a rapid rise and were arguably punching above their weight. The thing for Wilder is, the gap to the top in terms of finances is even greater now.

But what it does mean is that the 53-year-old has genuine belief their form can turn around – because he’s seen it happen.

“There were a lot of similarities,” Wilder told The Sheffield Star about that 1990/91 campaign.

“We were a hard-working side that didn’t have the rub of the green but kept going and believing and managed to get that first win.

“We stuck together – as players did at that time, and have to now – and came through the other side.

“There were incredible scenes at the end with supporters on the pitch and in the lead up to the game, they never turned it in. They had their doubts and opinions on the team but they never gave up supporting the players on the pitch.”

There is a message there from Wilder, who also recently asked fans to have some perspective when judging this season.

In fairness, the vast majority fully back him and respect what he has achieved during his four-and-a-half years as boss.

Unfortunately, supporters can’t currently cheer their team on from the stands. Which may explain some of the problems this term.

But hopefully they’ll be back by May to celebrate if the club pulls off another great escape.

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