Tomorrow tests us yet again, probably our toughest home game to date and one of the most tricky so far this season. A 3-1 defeat at Leicester in midweek ended the cup run which isn’t the worst thing and it came of the back of a far more important win, 0-3 in Bristol City. The majority of that team will stay, but you have to consider the formation Sheffield United play, with three at the back and still two up front.
GK – Andy Lonergan – Felix Wiedwald isn’t exactly proving to be a safe option and he had a bit of a nightmare at the King Power on Tuesday evening. Lonergan went long most of the time at Bristol City and we cut out mistakes at the back.
RB – Luke Ayling – The obvious choice and I can’t see anyone taking this spot from Ayling while he is still at the club. Came off the bench against Leicester during the week, will have his hands full up against the dynamic Sheffield United. Will have to do some tucking in as well.
CB – Matthew Pennington – I think he is nailed on to start the game after such an impressive display alongside Liam Cooper at Ashton Gate on Saturday. Very good on the ball but will have to be at his best up against Billy sharp who has a point to prove at Elland Road.
CB – Liam Cooper – Cooper is good mates with Sharp and stopping him is key tomorrow. Sheffield United play with players arriving from all angles in the box and Cooper having a good game is exactly what we need. If he plays well, the defence normally plays well. If not we look shaky as a unit.
LB – Vurnon Anita – Gaetano Berardi is suspended and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson injured we have little choice in who plays in the centre-back positions for the game. Christiansen has hinted he will go with a back three, something many of us have been speaking about for weeks.
CM – Ronaldo Vieira – Bossing midfield, with him we are a better team. So glad he’s back.
CM – Eunan O’Kane – With Vieira doing all the hard work last week it really set O’Kane free to go and get on the ball in other areas. Such a crucial player to the way we are playing football and getting him on the ball and driving into the midfield of Sheffield United will have us causing problems.
CM – Kalvin Phillips – Played better at Ashton Gate as did many but this game is perfect for Phillips to shine. He didn’t show up in the last Yorkshire Derby and now he needs to show us he’s ready for this. Needs to get beyond Lasogga and Saiz and stretch the back three of Sheffield United.
AMR – Gjanni Alioski – Attacking midfield right that is. Played well to begin with before running out of steam at Ashton Gate and another who will need to right the wrongs of his last showing against a Yorkshire side. Has so much ability, we need to see it.
AML – Samu Saiz – Played off the left at Bristol City but not so blatant as a winger. Came into central positions and made things happen and if we are to win tomorrow it’s hard to think that anyone else will be the key player for us going forward.
ST – Pierre-Michel Lasogga – Had a very good game at Bristol City and showed what we saw the first few games he played for us. Such an important player for us because Jay-Roy Grot and Pawel Cibicki aren’t showing much to convince us they can make the grade.