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Sheffield United expectation underlined as Stoke City fixture looms

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Sheffield United will have benefitted from the October international break, according to Paddy Kenny. 

Slavisa Jokanovic got a tune out of the Blades following September’s break, putting a difficult start behind his squad and delivering three wins in four Championship fixtures.

That run included a thumping win over Peterborough United, convincing away victory at Hull City and getting the better of Derby County. Additionally, the Blades played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Preston North End.

Kenny feels that Jokanovic getting to grips with his squad again in another international break will only be a good thing.

“I’m hoping to see a big improvement after the break,” the former Blade told Football Insider.

“Results improved after the last international break. That little upturn was really important, but they have dropped off again in recent weeks.

“A couple of weeks without a game will give the manager some more time to work with people on the training ground.

“He is still new at the club, still learning about his staff and players. This little break can do them the world of good in that area.

“They have been scoring recently, but it’s the defence they really need to work on.”

Despite that initial upturn in results, Sheffield United lost out to Middlesbrough and AFC Bournemouth in the games leading up to October’s international break.

In Kenny’s eyes, then, the international break came at a good time for Jokanovic.

“The thing with international breaks is that if you’re on a bad run, it’s a massive plus,” Kenny continued. “But if you’re on a good run, it disrupts your momentum.

“So I think this has come at a good time for Sheffield United. Hopefully, it can be big boost.”

The Blades sit 14th in the Championship table as things stand and are six points adrift of the play-off places.

Between now and the next international break, Jokanovic’s side are in action on six occasions. They host Stoke City, Millwall and Blackpool at Bramall Lane, as well as travelling to Barnsley, Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers.

The Verdict 

This is a good observation from Kenny.

It’s safe to assume that Jokanovic had a better idea of what he was working with at Sheffield United after the first batch of fixtures and then managed to generate a decent point return from the next phase of the season after a fruitful end to the transfer window.

However, it wasn’t quite good enough from a Sheffield United point of view against Boro or Bournemouth, leaving Jokanovic with plenty to think about.

So, there’s maybe extra emphasis on this break. Sheffield United’s squad has had time to gel again and get more familiar with the new manager, with the knowhow of what it takes to win in the Championship under their belt.

As Kenny states, improvement will be expected.

Thoughts? Let us know! 

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Alfie is a journalist based in Yorkshire with years of experience covering the EFL. A current focus on Huddersfield Town and their fortunes back in the Championship, but out and about at as many games as possible. Covered Leeds United during their promotion-winning season in 2019/20.

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Article title: Sheffield United expectation underlined as Stoke City fixture looms

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