Chris Wilder appears to have sent a message to the Sheffield United board.
Preparation for the Championship has effectively started with the Blades seemingly destined for relegation.
Their latest defeat came at the hands of Liverpool, who left Bramall Lane with all three points after a 2-0 win.
That’s now 21 losses from 26 league games this season. United remain bottom of the table and are now 15 points from safety.
With only 12 matches left to play, for Wilder’s side to turn it around from here and stay up would be nothing short of remarkable.
Therefore, understandably, one eye is now on the next campaign.
“If we do go to into the Championship, we need to keep everybody together and go again,” Wilder was quoted by Yorkshire Live.
“The likes of (Rhian) Brewster, Sander (Berge), Rammo (Aaron Ramsdale) and (Oli) McBurnie.”
A warning to the Sheffield United board?
If, as expected, United are relegated then there is sure to be interest in some of their players.
After all, this same group finished ninth in the top flight only last season. They haven’t become bad overnight and there are sure to be interested suitors.
There is already apparent interest in Berge, with Aston Villa said to be keen on the midfielder.
Standout performers from 2019/20 like John Egan and Jack O’Connell could also attract admiring glances.
Next term will be new ground for Wilder. His 20-year managerial career so far has been an upward trajectory filled with promotions. This looks set to be his first relegation.
Wilder has had issues with recruitment before. The 53-year-old publicly defended apparent criticism from owner Prince Abdullah earlier this month.
It was after no new signings came through the door during the January transfer window.
Keeping hold of everyone will be a tough task, but if the board sell several of Wilder’s key assets, things could come to a head.
Watch this space.