Pre-season friendly: Predicted Sheffield United line-up to face Bradford
Sheffield United’s preparation for the upcoming season is well underway. The Blades have been hard at work over the last couple of weeks, and have already played two friendlies. First, they beat Stocksbridge Park Steels 5-1 after goals from Fleck, Smith, Lavery and two by Sharp. Then, during their pre-season tour in Portugal, they won 1-0 against local side Maritimo. This time, it was Ched Evans who got on the score-sheet.
Now, on Tuesday, 17 July, Chris Wilder’s men will play their third friendly of the summer. Their opponents for this game are local Yorkshire rivals Bradford City. Let’s take a look at our predicted Starting XI for the Blades for this match.
New loan signing Dean Henderson stayed on the pitch for the whole 90 minutes against Maritimo, meaning Jake Eastwood might be given a chance to start in the goal. He came on as a second-half substitute against Stocksbridge and conceded a goal, but Wilder must provide him with another opportunity.
In the standard 5-3-2 formation Wilder likes to use, George Baldock should get the nod ahead of Kieron Freeman for the right wing-back position. He started in both games so far, and this will be the third in a row.
On the left, Daniel Lafferty was picked against Stocksbridge and Maritimo, with Enda Stevens coming off the bench. This time, it should be the other way around.
As far as the trio in the heart of the defence is concerned, Chris Basham should start, along with Richard Stearman and Jack O’Connell. If they stay fit, they will be the first choice options for Wilder during the regular season as well.
As far as the midfield is concerned, the manager must rely on the same players he picked against Maritimo – John Fleck, Lee Evans and Ricky Holmes.
It’s no secret the Blades have two main strikers in Billy Sharp and Leon Clarke. They started against Maritimo, and it could be the same against Bradford. Ched Evans scored versus the Portuguese team, but the last campaign wasn’t great for him. He’s more of a squad rotation option, meaning its unlikely for Wilder to choose him over Clarke or Sharp.
With the game against Bradford being a friendly, we can never be too sure about the managers’ plans. Wilder might decide to experiment and pick different players but there shouldn’t be too many surprises along the way.