Sheffield United are expected to name a strong team when they host Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup fourth round this weekend.
The Yorkshire Post reports it’s “highly likely” manager Chris Wilder will once again stick with regular first team players.
It was a similar story in the last round, when the Blades beat another League One side in Bristol Rovers.
That 3-2 victory was the Blades’ first in all competitions this season. It created a platform for them to pick up their first three points in the Premier League in the very next game as they beat Newcastle United 1-0.
Wilder was therefore justified in fielding a strong starting XI. In a campaign so far low on positives and confidence, using the FA Cup to create some has been beneficial.
With Plymouth up next and another home tie against either Millwall or Bristol City to follow, there is a chance to progress deep into the competition.
Why Sheffield United must still drop Ramsdale in the FA Cup
One potential surprise in the win over Rovers was Aaron Ramsdale keeping his place as goalkeeper.
Ramsdale has received plenty of criticism since returning to Bramall Lane last summer in an £18.5m deal (BBC Sport).
When the Blades lost to Burnley in the Carabao Cup earlier in the season, the 22-year-old was rested and another new signing in Wes Foderingham replaced him in goal.
Foderingham wasn’t in the squad at the Memorial Stadium as the ‘keeper continued to recover from injury. Michael Verrips was on the bench instead, which might be why Ramsdale kept his place.
Verrips isn’t considered to be ready for first team football.
Yet Foderingham has returned to the match day squad for the past two league outings and it’s perhaps time for his second appearance.
Ramsdale is clearly low on confidence and Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur suggests the defence don’t have a huge amount of faith in the man behind them, either.
Wilder has consistently defended the England Under-21 international this term and rightly so.
The Blades manager wants Ramsdale to know he has confidence in him. But keeping the stopper in the firing line is doing him no favours.
Dropping Ramsdale wouldn’t be to say he isn’t good enough. What it would do is give him some much needed time away from the spotlight to regroup.
It would also allow Foderingham the chance to show if he’s ready to genuinely compete for the number one position.
If that opportunity can’t be given against Plymouth in the FA Cup, then when can it?