Thanks to Sheffield United supporter Daz_Blade for providing us with an insight into tomorrow’s opponents.
The views expressed are that of Daz_Blade and not of anyone at Vital Walsall
How do you feel you have started the season
People will find this strange, but despite being unbeaten so far some of our performances have been pretty underwhelming. Having said that, it`s hard to complain when you`re not losing games so it`s massively encouraging that we have put in some below average performances, yet still come out with at least a point on every occasion. We are a much different side to the team you will have seen last season, as we have lost our main attacking threats with the loss of four key players (Matt Lowton, Lee Williamson, Stephen Quinn & Ched Evans) that were involved in much of our attacking play so we`re a lot more cautious and grind out results rather than looking to score as many as we can, which was often the approach last term!
Your opinion on your manager and how the club is run?
It`s obviously been well documented how the fans felt about the appointment of Danny Wilson, and I wasn`t excited by it but completely disagreed with the protest that took place. To receive a welcome like that, and still end up having the crowd chant your name a few months into the season shows just how much courage our manager has. He has been fully dignified since joining and got the team playing the best football I`ve seen us play in a long time.
This season he`s had to adjust our style of play slightly due to loss of quality mentioned previously, so we are slightly more conservative but still try and keep the ball on the deck where possible. He`s making the best of what he`s got so he deserves credit for that, my only criticisms would be the fact he`s sometimes tentative with his use of substitutions. He often leaves them a bit too long but that`s quite a minor issue in what`s been a solid reign for him so far.
The club has been punished off the field recently for mistakes made over the last few years, which has led to massive restructuring and budget cuts throughout all areas of the football club. This has frustrated a lot of fans and been deemed a ‘lack of ambition`, but to me these were necessary and lays down the foundations of a football club living within it`s means which is essential. We`ve relied on chairman funding for far too long and it`s much more beneficial to see the club survive, not risk liquidation and end up similar to clubs like Portsmouth.
What are your expectations this season?
At the start of the season, most Blades expected us to be in and around the playoffs by the end of the season. We are much weaker than we were last season, but after seeing what this league has to offer this season I would say expectations have risen to challenging for the title. I feel it`s a very poor division this term, and so far I haven`t seen a team that stands out. I`m fully confident that we can make the playoffs at the very least, and sincerely hope we can take advantage of a solid start by challenging Tranmere if they do manage to keep up their good form so far.
Our top scorer is Nick Blackman, who signed from Blackburn in the summer. He`s big, strong and quick which equates to a good striker at this level and I think he`s capable of stepping up to the Championship. He`s got a bit of an attitude and seems to be easily wound up, but he`s very hard working and he`s impressed since he joined us.
The key player for us is Kevin McDonald. He`s a central midfield player and he will look to dictate the game from there. His physical presence helps him on the defensive side, but he has an incredible ability to make space for himself to open the game up, and his range of passing is exceptional. He should be playing at a much higher level and it`s amazing that we managed to tie him down to a new contract in the summer. He struggles with fitness quite often though, which for me is a big reason he stayed at Bramall Lane.
Prediction for tomorrow’s game
This is tricky. We haven`t lost yet, so the pessimist in me is expecting us to lose every game at the moment because surely, we can`t keep this going all season can we? We`ve drawn our last four games at home, including a demoralising late equaliser from Oldham last time at Bramall Lane so we`ll be looking to make amends for that. One thing we have been doing is sitting back on leads, so if we are in front with 20 minutes to go we will usually give you a chance to get back in the game as we are quite generous like that!
I`m going for a hard fought 2-1 home win, with goals from Blackman and Shaun Miller if he takes part. Hopefully, we won`t give you a start like we did last season as we don`t seem to have the firepower to get back into it this time round!