Championship side Derby County round off their pre-season preparations with a friendly match against Premier League outfit Sheffield United.
The game will take place behind closed doors at Pride Park Stadium on Tuesday 1st September, kicking off at 17:00 GMT.
Derby, who are captained by England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney, finished 10th in the Championship under former Netherlands midfielder Phillip Cocu, missing out on a play-off spot by six points.
Assistant manager Chris van der Weerden revealed reaching the play-offs is his side’s primary aim for the forthcoming campaign, believing the squad has the right balance to achieve it.
“If you want to be a team that is part of the play-offs, which we do, the balance of the team is very important,” he told RamsTV.
“You can have guys that are aged from 17-21, because they are talented guys, but you also need a few players who are something like 26, 27 and 28 and at their best. That gives a good balance in the group.
“Then, of course, you have players who are 33, 34 or 35 and have more experience. They can help the young players and the balance for the group, this year, is very important.”
Cocu’s side get their season under way on Saturday at home to Barrow in the opening round of the Carabao Cup. They will be without Krystian Bielik until at least October after he ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament in an Under-23 match.
Tom Lawrence and Duane Holmes may miss out through injury, while new goalkeeper David Marshall is on international duty for Scotland.
The Rams will be expecting a tough test from the Blades, who finished ninth in their first season back in the top-flight.
However, the visitors have a host of key players missing due to the upcoming international break. John Egan, Enda Stevens, David McGoldrick and Callum Robinson have been called up by Ireland, while John Fleck (Scotland), Sander Berge (Norway) and new goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale (England U21’s) will also be absent from the travelling party.
Oliver McBurnie, Jack O’Connell, John Lundstram and Simon Moore may also miss out through injury.
Wilder has admitted his lack of options for the upcoming friendlies is a big disappointment, but has an upside in that it’s largely because his players have progressed to the international stage.
“That’s disappointing,” he said. “But you have to take it on the chin. It’s going to be a reactive pre-season.
“We have a couple of games this week and the boys going away will get minutes under their belt from an international point of view, but in an ideal world every manager will be saying the same thing that they would have wanted their players at home working towards the first game of the season.
“But that’s one of the slight negatives that you have about the fact you have eight international players, and that can’t be ignored as well.”
While Derby are openly looking to join Sheffield United in the Premier League next season, Wilder revealed his main aim is to ensure his side remains there, and is looking to bring players in to boost their chances of doing so.
“They want to be Premier League players again and that’s the aim, they want to establish themselves and to do that they have to be physically on top of their game.
“It’s an important area that we need to strengthen (forward line), it’s a key area and we are certainly looking at that department.
“We are still working away on deals. Possibly four players coming in, but until they have that pen in their hand I can’t give you much more.”
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