It’s a trip to Deepdale to face Preston North End for Sheffield United this evening and Paul Heckingbottom looks to see a reaction from his side.
The weekend performance at Derby County was as unacceptable as they come. So far under Heckingbottom, United have been full of energy and bite. However, at Pride Park, United were anything but those things as Hecky sat at home due to Covid.
The Blades boss, then, will hope to see something a bit more from his team tonight. He’s got a number of big calls to make, and we could once again see a few younger players in the XI or squad.
Here’s all the early team news and our stab at a predicted XI as Sheffield United take on Preston this evening.
The big body blow for the Blades is the news that Ben Davies won’t be available to face his former club. The Liverpool loanee has missed the last few weeks and has now picked up Covid himself. Along with Davies, Morgan Gibbs-White is still not back from injury. However, there is increased optimism that ‘MGW’ will be staying for the season, after Wolves signed Chiquinho today.
Robin Olsen is on his way to Aston Villa, so Jake Eastwood will once again man the bench behind Wes Foderingham.
In terms of the XI, Ky Gordon could come into the squad. Jack Robinson endured another nightmare performance at Derby, while Gordon impressed at Wolves. The teenager, then, might well get the nod from Heckingbottom.
In midfield, Conor Hourihane is likely to return. The two man midfield of Berge and Norwood didn’t work at the weekend and Heckingbottom needs to alter something. Ben Osborn might also hope to be involved.
Up top is where the Blades boss has options. Sharp and McGoldrick were quiet while Iliman Ndiaye was a frustrated figure throughout. Rhian Brewster is back pushing for minutes, while Oli McBurnie is also on the comeback trail. It’s unlikely both start, but there could be an opportunity for someone up top.
Predicted Sheffield United Line-Up at Preston
We think Gordon could get his opportunity tonight. He’s been brought back from loan for a reason, and Jack Robinson has had more than a few chances.
Up front, something needs freshening up. Sharp and McGoldrick can change and win games on their day, but an input of fresh energy from Brewster, McBurnie, or even Oli Burke, might help the Blades tonight.
Here’s our best punt at a predicted Sheffield United line-up, which also sees Enda Stevens returning at left wing-back.