Sheffield United host Derby County tonight in the League Cup, as Slavisa Jokanovic looks to build some confidence to take into the Championship.
The Blades saw off Carlisle in the last round thanks to Rhian Brewster’s first and only goal for the club so far. In the league, however, just a single goal and point have put the pressure firmly on Jokanovic and his team.
Wayne Rooney has admitted he is delighted to have drawn United in the second round. He’ll be hoping his players can take a scalp, albeit the clubs are in the same division.
Here, then, is all the team news, head to head history, and our predictions.
Sheffield United are expected to make changes once again as Jokanovic looks to his fringe players to impress. However, there could still be places in the XI for a few who started at the weekend.
Rhian Brewster could start again, while Oli McBurnie might get the chance to keep building his fitness and match sharpness. However, Daniel Jebbison could also get the nod, even though his future is seemingly in question.
In midfield, Luke Freeman might get a chance to impress, as might youngster Zak Brunt. Jayden Bogle could also come in, as should Ben Osborn for the disappointing John Fleck.
Ben Davies is likely to play again after starting his first game at the weekend. He’s likely to play alongside the likes of Ky Gordon and Kacper Lopata at the back. In goal, Jokanovic has already said Michael Verrips will start.
Head to head
Tonight will be the 114th meeting between Derby and Sheffield United and it couldn’t be much closer in terms of overall record. The Blades have won 47 to Derby’s 48, with 18 draws, according to 11v11.
The two sides haven’t met in a cup competition since 1986. That day, the Blades lost 1-0 at Bramall Lane in an FA Cup third round tie.
United hold a slight upper hand over the last ten fixtures with five wins to the Rams’ three since 2008. It was honours even the last time out in the Championship. Derby won 2-1 at home, while United ran out 3-1 winners in a memorable Boxing Day win in 2018.
United should have enough to see Derby off, but we keep saying that this season. Former Blades like Jagielka, Morrison, and Stearman could all feature for Wayne Rooney’s side.
However, the Blades, despite a number of younger players being set to play, should have enough in the tank to seal a win. A few goals wouldn’t go amiss either.
Prediction – Sheffield United 3 – 1 Derby County