Sheffield United travel to Luton Town today looking to get a first league win under Slavisa Jokanovic at the fifth attempt.
A midweek cup win over a young Derby County side should have given the Blades some confidence. Jokanovic has spoken this week about the need for his players to start enjoying their football. He’ll be hoping, then, that today could be a turning point in the season.
Luton represent a stiff challenge, though. Despite being hammered by Birmingham last weekend, the Hatters do have two wins on the board.
With that, we’ve got all the latest team news for the Blades ahead of the trip.
Jokanovic has no fresh injury worries and has more or less a fully-fit squad to choose from. Enda Stevens remains a longer-term absentee, so Rhys Norrington-Davies looks likely to continue at left wing-back.
The bigger decisions for the Blades boss come in midfield and up top. Luke Freeman scored in midweek and will be hoping for another chance. Zak Brunt also did well against Derby, and could be included in the squad.
Interestingly, Iliman Ndiaye returned to the fold against the Rams. He could very much be in the mix to play again, after impressing off the bench.
Up front, Billy Sharp looks certain to start. He’s scored twice this season and it’s more a question of Sharp and who else, as things stand. Oli McBurnie might be the best placed to partner him today. The Scotland striker brings presence to the table, and can help out at the back too.
Head to Head
The Blades and Luton have only met 42 times in the past, which is a relatively low number in terms of head to head. United hold the advantage, with 18 wins from those games.
However, this is the first meeting between the sides in 15 years. A 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road in 2006 saw Michael Tonge equalise in the final minute for the Blades.
The last game at Bramall Lane was more straightforward for United. A 4-0 win, with goals from Jagielka (2), Pericard, and Morgan, ensuring a comfortable day the office. A similar result today would very much go down a treat for Jokanovic.
United have more than enough quality to win at Luton but they need to come out firing quickly and get the first goal. If that happens, the confidence will be up and United could well go on to win comfortably.
However, Luton will want to bounce back as well. If they get their tails up, then it could prove a difficult day for the Blades.
But with Sharp in fine form, and a return to 3-5-2 helping the players look more comfortable, we’re backing a first win to see us into the international break.
Predicted score – Luton Town 0 – 2 Sheffield United