Do Sheffield United need to get promoted this season to retain Chris Wilder as their manager?
Wilder is a boyhood Blades fan who got them promoted from League One in his first season and finished tenth in the Championship in his second.
When league football returns this weekend following the international break, United will travel to Rotherham United. They are in fourth position and three points off the top.
Things are going well for Wilder and his team, but it would be foolhardy to assume that means he’s not going anywhere.
Why this season?
Towards the end of last term there were serious doubts Wilder would remain at Bramall Lane. The ongoing legal battle between co-owners Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah was causing problems.
These concerns were put aside in May when Wilder signed a new contract until 2021. However, those issues at board level have not gone away and look set to go to the High Court in May.
By then we will know if the Blades have returned to the Premier League or not. Wilder himself believes his team are stronger than in 2017/18.
“We’re better equipped now, I believe, than back then both in terms of numbers and experience,” the United boss told the Sheffield Star.
“It wasn’t anything to do with mentality, what happened last year, and the boys have shown they’re ready to confront whatever gets thrown at them head-on.”
Yet if that promotion does not come, will Wilder stick around? Blades fans should not assume for any second that he will.
This has nothing to do with Wilder’s credibility, or his commitment to the club. But an unsettled board makes for a difficult working environment. And in that situation each year the side aren’t promoted only exacerbates things.
Wilder is clearly a talented manager who could work in the top flight. If that has to be without United then no one could resent him for making the move.