Sheffield United will travel to Reading tonight without both Iliman Ndiaye and Rhys Norrington-Davies, with the pair both playing for the Blades under-23s this afternoon.
Norrington-Davies had been tipped by some to replace the out of form Enda Stevens at left-back or wing-back. However, the Welshman started and assisted for the 23s, as they drew 3-3 with Peterborough United.
The biggest shock of the day though was seeing Iliman Ndiaye included with the youngsters. Ndiaye has been, in the eyes of many, one of few shining lights in what has been a miserable season so far. The young forward was involved from the off, and got himself on the scoresheet for the 23s.
That means that Slavisa Jokanovic has at least one open slot in his matchday squad for tonight’s trip to Berkshire. So, who could be included instead of Ndiaye for United?
Despite tipping Sander Berge to miss out on tonight’s trip to Reading in our predicted XI earlier today, the big Norwegian might actually be back in the fold.
The decision to drop Ndiaye altogether is a big call. It leaves a spot in the squad wide open, and Berge might be the man to step in. He is back in training as we know, but it’s been quiet in terms of actual updates when it comes to his fitness.
Prior to the season, some fans tipped Berge to play a prominent role as a more attacking midfielder for United. And with Ndiaye out, we might well see Berge in the number ten role this evening.
Of course, this is just pure guesswork from our part. Other players like Luke Freeman, Oli Burke, and David McGoldrick are all pushing to be in the first XI. But even so, a place on the bench will be free given Saturday’s selection.
If Berge is back tonight, then it’s a timely boost. In fact, it could even be a season defining return for Berge, Jokanovic, and United as a whole.