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With the rush of games at Christmas it is often difficult to pick up pre-match comments from the two managers and that’s proved to be the case with Chris Wilder ahead of Sheffield United’s visit to Burnley tonight.

Wilder has said that our progress under Sean Dyche is incredible while repeating that his team will be looking for a win tonight. He added that he admires the way we have established ourselves in the Premier League.

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What is interesting is Wilder’s comments on the academy at Sheffield United which, until 2017, was of a higher category than ours but is now one below. He said that with the club’s promotions, it has left other areas of the club trailing and the academy is one of them and admitted there are no young players there who are close to breaking into the first team.

Meanwhile, Sean Dyche has been discussing the situations with the missing wide men. Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson has played only fleetingly while both Robbie Brady and Dwight McNeil were ruled out at Leeds having come off during the win against Wolves.

The manager thinks both Brady and McNeil have a chance for tonight. “With the two games in three days we had to make a judgement call,” Dyche said. “We think they both have a chance, but we just felt the fatigue element of two games and what it might do, when you are coming out of a minor injury, we just had to make a decision.”

The Guðmundsson situation has baffled supporters. He came back recently, appeared to get no injury but then disappeared again although he did play in a behind closed doors game last week. Dyche has said: ” Jόhann is just getting back to that freedom to go and play. He’s had so many niggly injuries that we have deliberately made a decision to take him away from it, to allow him more training time.

“He’s getting more game time in the reserve games until the time when he can just run out there and have that mental freedom to know his body is 100% and he can play free-flowing, just sprint, recover and all the things the game needs.”

Looking forward to tonight’s game, he warned that Sheffield United are not anything like as bad as their situation would suggest. “I think their points has to be a false representation, based on last season,” he said. “They were deservedly given so many plaudits last season because ninth place in the Premier League is some finish.

“You are never quite sure what the next season will bring until it happens. Trying to find a way to make it work at both ends of the pitch is every manager’s challenge and they haven’t quite got on the right side of those margins this season. But Chris is a fella who I respect a lot and someone I regard as a friend in football, and they are still working and fighting, because I have seen them. We are never naïve enough to not respect teams and we’ll certainly respect Sheffield United.

“I’m not going to start throwing words like sympathy about because that’s not for football managers, in my opinion. Empathy and understanding are different things, but Chris doesn’t want my sympathy, I can assure you. However, I certainly understand some of the challenges and he will bring his team to our place and want his team to win, so friendship will go out of the window for ninety minutes.”

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