Manager Nigel Clough has assured Sheffield United’s out-of-favour players that they will get their chance, as the Bramall Lane club prepare for another arduous League One season.
By his own admission Clough, who saw his side pick up their first points of the season on Tuesday evening in a 2-1 win at Peterborough, is yet to field his strongest side so far this term.
Chris Porter and Stephen McGinn have both been limited to just one appearance so far - in the Capital One Cup win over Mansfield - while the likes of Bob Harris, Ryan Flynn and Stefan Scougall were rested at London Road.
Scougall, who was omitted from the 18 which faced Darren Ferguson’s side, will be assessed tomorrow before a decision is made on whether he will face Crawley Town at Bramall Lane this weekend.
And Clough said: “We’re playing three games a week more often than not at this stage, so it doesn’t do any harm to change things up when it’s Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday.
“We’ve got an 18-20 man squad, and they will all be used at some point throughout the season.
“A few lads have been disappointed that they haven’t been starting, but they’ve got to recognise that it’s a long, long season.
“They’ve got to stick with it, and be ready if and when we need them.”
Asked if he feels he is getting closer to knowing his best side, Clough admitted: “Not yet, really - and if I said yes, I think Scougall, Flynny and Bob Harris would have something to say about it!
“Hopefully they’ll be motivated to get their places back.
“We’ve also got Stephen and Chris kicking their heels and not getting in the 18, so maybe the answer isn’t bringing players in but using the ones we already have.
“It’s the right time to give players a break if they need it - there are 43 games left, after all. Scougs will benefit from a week of rest.”
James Wallace, who made his comeback from a groin injury during United’s Professional Development League draw with Colchester United yesterday, has been ruled out of the Crawley game by Clough, who handed new signing Jay McEveley his Blades debut at Peterborough.
“Everybody contributed to the win at London Road, and that was good to see,” Clough added.
“The nice thing was that we got that first league win against very good opposition who I’m sure will be right up there come the end of the season.
“We won’t be getting ahead of ourselves, though.
“That would have been the case even if we’d have won all our games because it’s still very, very early days.
“As it is, we’ve won two and lost two and it’s far too early to get carried away.
“But all our games so far have been decided by the odd goal, which shows you how tight this league is. That first win will lift everyone and give us a boost going into the next few games.”
n Meanwhile, United’s scheduled League One game against MK Dons on September 6 has been postponed.
The Football League agreed to the request after a number of Dons players received international call-ups.
A new date is yet to be confirmed.
n United’s Bramall Lane stadium will host the replay of rugby league’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup final next month, should Saturday’s showpiece between Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos at Wembley Stadium end in a draw.