Chris Wilder says the current season must finish and Southampton chief executive, Martin Semmens, may have given him some hope.

Professional football in England is currently suspended until April 30 at the earliest due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For Sheffield United, this has cut short a campaign that had been going excellently for them. Before play ceased they were seventh in the table in their first Premier League season in 12 years.

The Blades had reached the 40-point mark widely regarded to be the total to avoid relegation after 27 matches. They now have 43 after 28 and a game in hand over those directly above them. If they were to win that they would rise as high as fifth.

This weekend they were due to host Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. There are now serious doubts about whether that competition will be concluded.

The league is the priority and Wilder cannot envisage a scenario where that does not finish. Even if it means changing his mind on ties being played behind closed doors.

“At first, I didn’t want to play the remaining games behind closed doors but my point of view now is that, if that is what it has to be in order to finish the season, then that is what it has to be,” Wilder told the Daily Mail.

“There’s no compromise in this. We have to finish the season, however long it takes.

“Everyone will look at it from a selfish point of view and they have to come out of that. The Premier League season is a race. It is 38 games. No matter how many points somebody is ahead or how many points somebody is behind, it’s sport and anything can happen.”

Why Southampton chief has given Wilder hope of getting his wish

(Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

Semmens has suggested that top flight football could return before restrictions are lifted on the virus. His belief is that entertainment plays a crucial role in helping people during tough times, such as the coronavirus outbreak.

“When everybody is safe and we’re not using up NHS and police resources, the government would like us to get back to playing because we are entertainment and a sign that the country is coming back to normal,” Semmens told BBC Radio Solent.

“If people are home for another month and Premier League football is on the TV every day that can only be a good thing. Not because we are more essential than the NHS but because we can give people entertainment and show that we’re fighting back.”

Semmens continued: “We hope to get the league done by the end of June. As soon as you go past that date, there are legal challenges.”

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