Sheffield United finally managed to seal the deal for long-term target Ryan Leonard who joined the club from Southend a few days ago.
Boss Chris Wilder had chased the talented midfielder throughout the summer and even though the player also expressed a desire to move, the Shrimpers held onto their man.
However, with the players’ contract up in six months and promotion to the Championship looking unlikely, the Essex club relented and Leonard made the move up north.
Capable on the ball, Leonard is seen as an ideal replacement for Paul Coutts. The ex-Derby midfielder suffered a season-ending injury against Burton Albion and it was the catalyst for an awful run of form that saw the Blades fall from the top two to seventh.
After the move was finalised, Leonard is now available to play for United and his first game couldn’t get much bigger.
They host bitter rivals Sheffield Wednesday at Bramall Lane on Friday in what should be a memorable encounter.
But, should Wilder hand his new signing his debut in the ferocious fixture?
We take a look…
He has chased him long enough so why wait any longer to get him involved?
Leonard should be fighting fit having played regularly for Southend before his move and his inclusion will get the fans even more excited. Throw him in and he’ll get through the derby on adrenaline alone.
It would be a baptism of fire for the midfielder, but Wilder’s eagerness to get Leonard to Bramall Lane shows how much he rates the midfielder, so it wouldn’t be a surprise.
For me, I would ease him in, rather than throwing him into the cauldron of a Steel City derby.
It’s a big call if he does but Wilder has shown he’s not afraid to make such decisions.
Personally, I don’t think he should start him as he is settling in but I wouldn’t be surprised if he does get thrown in.