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Sheffield United: Why a promising defender was tried at Bramall Lane

Beating Scott Parker’s team today would be a real statement of intent. Especially if their closest challengers, Middlesbrough and Blackburn Rovers, both drop points. But lose and, depending on results elsewhere, Heckingbottom’s side could face an uphill struggle to qualify for the play-offs. Although it would take a brave man or woman to bet against the race all the way.

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Ahead of United game against second-placed opponents – six points clear of third-placed Huddersfield Town, two games less – The Star’s james shield picks his ideal starting XI for the game, the perfect substitutes and explains why.

Shield’s Eleven: Foderingham, Stevens, Baldock, B Davies, Egan, Uremovic, Norwood, Fleck, Berge, Gibbs-White, McBurnie.

Shield Substitutes: In Davies, Robinson, Norrington-Davies, Osborn, Hourihane, Ndiaye, Jebbison.

Shield Thought: United beat Queens Park Rangers 1-0 in midweek. If their decision-making had been better in the final third, they would have won by more.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has a few selections to ponder: Cameron Smith/Getty Images

This suggests that their overall performance was of the requisite caliber. So I see no point in changing the starting XI here, although Oli McBurnie could tire in the second half after his unqualified switch on Tuesday. Daniel Jebbison and Iliman Ndiaye can provide power from the bench if that happens and, importantly, also have different attacking attributes. This gives Heckingbottom the flexibility to react, depending on how the fixture unfolds.

The United manager has insisted Filip Uremovic, who was substituted during the second half of his debut, will be available for selection here. If so, he must start over.

At left-back, I would prefer Enda Stevens over Rhys Norrington-Davies. But only because it would be nice to see United try to win at Bournemouth and Stevens is better going forward. If they can get up front and the outcome is still uncertain in the closing stages, Norrington-Davies’ defensive qualities – especially when fresh – could prove invaluable.

James Shield, Sheffield United writer of The Star
Bournemouth manager Scott Parker: Jacob King/PA Wire.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-09 07:00:00

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