The Sky Bet Championship action continues this evening as Derby County and Sheffield United face off.
Ahead of the clash, we caught up with Martin Fox of S24SU to preview the match from a Blades point of view…
You went into the break top of the table – can you stay there?
This time last season, we did the same and were looking good, but the injury to Coutts and a subsequent loss of form saw us drift away. We never really replaced the man who did a lot to dictate the way we played, but we’ve done some good business and now have options meaning there’s no need to rush him back. We are now stronger as a squad and from that experience, but head into a difficult run of games, I’m still quietly confident that we’ll improve on last year. Whether that translates into a challenge for the top two remains to be seen, but we’re enjoying being there at the moment.
Chris Wilder has recently praised John Lundstram but can you see him getting in the side any time soon? What does the Blades’ strongest midfield look like to you?
Our midfield currently looks the best it has for a long time, we’ve competition for places and a great understanding between the settled players. Lundstram has been sidelined somewhat but I do think will still have a part to play from the bench and with Wilder more likely to rotate the squad with the midweek games. Blades fans are excited to see how Coutts will fit back in and whether not not we can be greedy enough to fit him in at the same time as Duffy and Norwood… I’ve failed to even mention the quality of Fleck so far, which shows the riches we currently have in the middle. The highly rated Liverpool loanee Ben Woodburn can’t get a look in, so we aren’t going to be struggling for options if we pick up the odd suspension or injury.
David McGoldrick hit the winner last time out – has he got to stay in the side for now and where does this leave Leon Clarke?
At the moment, McGoldrick keeps his place on merit. Since his arrival was announced, concerns have been voiced on his ability to remain match fit and injury free, but he offers something different. Seeing him so far, I can only assume it’s this that’s kept him from playing consistantly at a higher level. Clarke tends to go in fits and starts and is struggling for form, but it would be just like him to bag a goal and then go on a healthy run. He’ll definitely have a part to play again this season, but for the moment, it’s looking very much like Sharp and one of the two most weeks.
What have you made of Derby this season? And what are their threats that the Blades need to avoid?
Clichéd, but there are no easy games in the Championship. I have to confess to having not seen a great deal of Derby County so far, but they are a side that should be up there towards the end of the season. It will be interesting to see how Lampard gets on, he’s been somewhat fortunate to be able to cut his teeth at this level, but comes across as the type of ex-pro who will have what it takes to make it in management. Like a number of clubs, on paper, there is some quality in the squad and I could see them going on a run.
Tough one to call, but I’m going with a 1-2 away win for the Blades and a return to the top of the league. The international break came at the wrong time for the Blades, but Wilder won’t let them ease off. I could easily see a score draw, but think the Blades will have enough to edge it.