After 16 months of being away, Sheffield United fans are finally getting back to Bramall Lane this evening as the Blades welcome Birmingham City.
It’s a new era for the club. Slavisa Jokanovic has taken over from Chris Wilder, who left the club last season as United were relegated from the Premier League.
But there is a new confidence within the club thanks to the appointment of Jokanovic. The Serbian knows the league, and has the promotions on his CV to back himself up.
It goes without saying, then, that United fans are eager to see what team Jokanovic puts out in his first proper outing.
Jokanovic has refused to be drawn on formations and systems all summer when speaking to the press. While United fans are used to the 3-5-2 of the Wilder says, Jokanovic seems intent on being free-flowing in his thinking.
Pre-season hasn’t given many clues. Disruption due to Covid-19 has hindered United’s progress. However, the game at Doncaster can probably give us the biggest indication.
And we think Jokanovic is likely to go with that same sort of formation and XI this evening against Birmingham. That will mean starts for Lys Mousset and, potentially, Oliver Burke. Meanwhile, Ben Osborn should start at left-back.
The biggest selection issue will be who partners John Egan in a back four, with both Chris Basham and Jack Robinson competing.
Here, then, is our predicted XI for this evenings clash with Birmingham City.