Sheffield United are getting ready to host Sheffield Wednesday in the first Steel City derby of 2018/19.
For most football fans in the city this is the first fixture they look for when the dates are released.
The Blades are coming into the match in fine form. Despite defeat at Nottingham Forest last week they are currently third in the table after 16 games.
As for Wednesday, their 4-0 home loss to Norwich City in their previous outing was their fourth successive defeat.
While many supporters of these rivals are nervous to make predictions, neutrals will be banking on a United win on home turf.
So how will Chris Wilder set up his team?
At the back Chris Basham will be a welcome return after missing the trip to Forest through suspension. The 30-year-old has committed his future to the club this week by signing a new contract.
And Basham’s attacking presence when surging forward will be just as important an addition as his defensive prowess. Alongside the ever present Jack O’Connell and John Egan the trio make up a solid back three.
The good thing about this United team is that when everyone is fit, the best personnel slot in without much thought. That includes Enda Stevens and Kieron Freeman marauding forwards and providing the width from wing-back.
With Mark Duffy still unavailable Wilder switched to a three man central midfield last weekend – and it didn’t work. Paul Coutts was sorely missed when injured last term, but Oliver Norwood has filled the void magnificently.
Playing both probably isn’t necessary against the Owls, especially if it means Duffy sitting out. Norwood alongside the always reliable John Fleck makes more sense. Duffy’s influence in the number ten role has been missed and can thankfully return.
Billy Sharp is captain and top scorer so there is no question over his place. Alongside the skipper, however, cases could be argued for Leon Clarke or David McGoldrick. Yet for superior his goals and mobility, McGoldrick gets the nod.
Predicted XI at Bramall Lane: