Paul Heckingbottom has rightly won the plaudits of Sheffield United fans since taking over as manager but he got it wrong against QPR last night.
Coming off the back of a 1-1 draw against a resilient Birmingham City, Heckingbottom will have been desperate to get back to winning ways against Michael Beale’s QPR side. However, a Chris Willock goal ensured a first home loss of the season for United and left Heckingbottom with plenty to think about.
Of course, the United boss finds his squad ravaged by injury at the moment. Indeed, had the squad not been so deep, it’s hard to see how the Blades would have coped.
But while injuries are playing a big part in Heckingbottom’s selections, his inclusion of Jayden Bogle in a left wing-back slot last night posed more questions than answers really. And while we rightly praise the United boss for a lot of his work, this was a decision which needs criticising.
Lack Of Threat
Jayden Bogle actually had a good game last night. In his first start since suffering his season ending injury last term, the former Derby man performed admirably down the left with Rhys Norrington-Davies. He looked sharp for being out so long and actually looked one of United’s most dangerous players in the opening 45.
However, surely things could have been much better for the entire team had Bogle been used down the right? We all know George Baldock didn’t deserve to be dropped from the XI. But using Baldock on the left, with Bogle able to fully utilise his attacking strengths in his favoured position would have given United a different dimension.
Instead, Bogle kept cutting back inside as any right-footer would do. Indeed, Baldock would have done the exact same had he been on the left. But Baldock does that from the right anyway, so Heckingbottom’s logic made little sense. Even more baffling was the decision to leave Bogle out there for the entire 90 minutes even when Reda Khadra came on.
Baldock’s injury means that a starting spot in this weekend’s XI seems unlikely. The Greek international looked in pain and it would be a surprise to see him in the starting line up.
But with that, comes the chance for Heckingbottom to put Bogle in his favoured position. With a bit of luck, Anel Ahmedhodzic will be back in action, meaning Norrington-Davies can fill in at left wing-back with the Bosnian back in alongside Egan and Basham.
This injury crisis is proving a nightmare for United. However, we remain top of the league. A win at Stoke is still possible despite how tough a trip it will be. And with Bogle in his best position, a striker in Rhian Brewster who should be desperate to prove a point, and James McAtee potentially getting a chance in Sander Berge’s absence, this weekend could tell everyone a lot about the credentials of this Blades squad.