FA Cup Third Round: Blades To Blitz Barnet?4 min read
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder is expected to trust the depth of his squad against Barnet on Sunday and there is every reason for him to do so, because he has some appealing options in reserve.
Kieran Dowell, who recently joined on loan from Everton, is a welcome addition to the squad, having shown enormous potential while at Nottingham Forest last season.
Dowell not only offers energy and a willingness to press, which fits the Blades’ style of play, he can also produce moments of individual brilliance, which means that he will offer them something different, too.
By dropping John Fleck and Oliver Norwood, Wilder can bring in John Lundstram, a technician with great potential and Paul Coutts who, lest we forget, was their best player in the first quarter of last season prior to injury.
Rest them all. Just played 4 games in hardly any time with most of same 11
Squad players need minutes to be ready if needed.
Bryan stearman cranie
— BA Analytics (@Blades_analytic) January 2, 2019
Equally, Leon Clarke was United’s stand-out player at this stage last season but the arrival and form of David McGoldrick has seen him slip down the pecking order, while fourth-choice Conor Washington, who has starred at League One level for Peterborough, can offer pace in behind.
Like Washington, Marvin Johnson needs to produce a performance to prove his worth to Wilder.
He looks set to be the second choice left wing-back to Enda Stevens after Daniel Lafferty was loaned out on Thursday; while he needs to show the required tenacity to endear himself to the Bramall Lane faithful, he has some ability and this type of game might suit him.
Barnet are in transition after John Still announced his retirement from management to move upstairs, as Darren Currie, a younger manager more of the tracksuit variety, takes caretaker charge.
Darren Currie will continue in his role as First Team Coach and take temporary charge of all First Team affairs #BarnetFC 🐝 pic.twitter.com/dYPPgT0pt0
— Barnet FC 🐝 (@BarnetFC) December 28, 2018
Curry has switched from the 3-5-2 they often played under Still to 4-2-3-1, which has got the best out of versatile forward Ephron Mason-Clark, with the teenager bagging in a strong second half performance in New Years’ Day’s 1-1 draw with Boreham Wood.
However, five-goal front man Shaquile Coulthirst is yet to fire to the extent one might have expected at National League level, but the team collectively have scored just two goals in the previous three games; they look potentially vulnerable in the full-back areas, too.
Sheffield United should take control of this game from the outset and, once they get ahead, it could be difficult for Barnet to get the ball off them, let alone launch an attack of their own.
Tip: Sheffield United win to nil