After all the excitement of England qualifying for the World Cup it’s back to league action and Derby are kicking off early against Sheffield United at Pride Park. So a 1 o’clock kick off will give Derby an early chance to extend their unbeaten home run to 3 out of 3, but this will be the toughest test so far. Sheffield United are a strong side, they have added to the squad that got them to the play-off final last year and are a good bet for a play-off spot…so it’s a good test to see how good Derby actually are. Things have improved under Nigel Clough but how much? This weekend will give us a good indication.
Derby will be without Steven Davies for this game but other players have returned to full fitness so for the first time this season Nigel Clough should be able to select his strongest XI. With this full squad the starting line up I would like to see would be in a 4-4-1-1 formation
Connolly, Barker, Addison, Moxey
Croft, Savage, Green, Teale
Bench – Hendrie, Dickov, Buxton, Pringle, Pearson, Deeney, McEveley
I have a suspicion that Clough will play Pearson instead of Commons and Buxton instead of Barker but hope that he doesn’t and the strongest starting XI we have starts the game.
There must be a huge temptation to start with Hendrie, especially as it’s against his former club but hopefully Clough will leave him on the bench and bring him on in the second half to hopefully score the winner!
So who are the players to watch out for on the Sheffield United team?
- Ched Evans – former Manchester City striker has started well at his new club scoring 2 goals in 4 games, the £3million Welsh international will be someone for Derby’s centre halves to watch out for.
- James Harper – a very recent signing by United, Harper has arrived on loan from Reading until the end of the season. Harper has always been an energetic midfielder and performed particularly well during Reading’s march to the Championship title in the 2005/06 season.
- Paddy Kenny – he’ll be sat in the stands no doubt eating a pie as he can’t play for 9 months due to a drugs ban. Kenny was given his suspension earlier this week for testing positive for ephedrine following United’s play off semi final against Preston last season.
I have a sneaky suspicion that Derby will be able to grab a victory, and the omens are on Derby’s side, last season the Sheffield United was the game that gave us our first win, and it came a couple of days after England beat Croatia, so hopefully we can continue our unbeaten run at home by taking all three points.
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