Burnley striker Jay Rodriguez could line up against Sheffield United tomorrow, nearly nine years on from netting against the Blades for the Clarets in a 4-2 win.
The former England man is back at Turf Moor following a successful season with West Brom last term. Now 30-years-old, Rodriguez was but a young man trying to make his way in the game last time out.
Coincidentally, that January win at Turf Moor proved to be just one of many nails in United’s coffin that season. The season saw them finish 22nd in the Championship and relegated to League One.
In fact, Rodriguez netted in both fixtures that season against the Blades. Burnley missed out on the play-offs themselves but it was United who suffered as it would be six years before they returned to the second tier.
Both teams first XI’s look hardly recognisable on paper nowadays. However, when you look at Sheffield United’s starting line-up, it’s easy to see why they struggled throughout the season.
Nyron Nosworthy lined up in a back four containing the likes of Jean Calve. Experienced stopper Richard Wright manned the sticks.
For Burnley, more household names – certainly in Lancashire – made the cut. Club legend Graham Alexander marshalled a defence alongside Clarke Carlisle, while previous play–off final hero Wade Elliott was in the midfield.
Upfront, Jay Rodriguez was partnered by the experienced and effervescent, Chris Iwelumo.
Sheff Utd – Richard Wright, Jean Calve, Nyron Nosworthy, Johnny Ertl, Matt Lowton, Lee Williamson, Leon Britton, Jamie Ward, Mark Yeates, Ched Evans, Richard Cresswell
Burnley – Lee Grant, Graham Alexander, Brian Easton, Clarke Carlisle, Michael Duff, Tyrone Mears, Chris Eagles, Wade Elliott, Dean Marney, Jay Rodriguez, Chris Iwelumo
Danger for United
Despite being into his latter years now, Rodriguez is arguably a bigger danger than he was in 2011.
Experience behind him and hungry to prove himself in the Premier League. Rodriguez was superb last season for West Brom, rattling in 22 goals tas the Baggies made the play-offs.
Rodriguez proved his class last week with a thunderbolt against Chelsea. Despite the game being all but lost, the striker smashed in from distance to give a stark reminder of his talent.
The Blades will need to wary of Rodriguez and his threat. It might not be the partnership of Iwelumo and Rodriguez this time but Ashley Barnes is not exactly a poor striker.
A repeat of last time out would be a bitter blow for the Blades. Chris Wilder and his resolute defence will be hoping to prevent any such issues.