WHILE their teammates wile away the hours downloading R&B tunes onto iPods or discussing the latest fashion trends, Marcus Williams and Lecsinel Jean-Francois eschew the usual pre-match routine of a modern-day footballer and devote their time to more cerebral pursuits instead.
The art of defending rather than Akon or Armani is the preferred subject for discussion behind the Sheffield United duo’s hotel room door.
“We share a room at away games and we often talk about things that have happened during matches,” said Williams. “We’ll have a chat about our performances and give each other advice on things we can improve or share little bits of information about opponents.
“We’re both competing for the same place but that doesn’t mean we have to be enemies. In fact, we really get along.
“And, to be honest, if we can help each other out then that benefits the team as a whole so we both get something out of it.”
Williams, who joined United on a permanent basis earlier this month following a successful spell at Bramall Lane on loan, dislodged Jean-Francois from Danny Wilson’s starting 11 soon after arriving from Reading. But with the Haiti international curbing the flashes of temper and indiscipline which saw him cautioned five times in only nine games and precipitated Williams’
arrival, the former Scunthorpe full-back is now cast in a supporting role.
“Of course I want to play but when I came back and got my deal sorted out, the gaffer told me not to be disappointed about being on the bench,” Williams said. “Of course I’d much rather be in there from the beginning but it’s fair enough because Lecs has done well and deserves his place.
“What I’ve got to do is make sure that when I’m called upon, I show that I’m deserving of one too; be ready for a chance.”
With Wilson raising the possibility that his latest acquisition could also be deployed in midfield, Williams’ hopes might not depend upon Jean-Francois suffering another suspension or downturn in form.
speaking ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Bury, pinpointed United’s lack of depth as his biggest concern ahead of a run of games set to exert great influence over the remainder of the season.
Trips to Charlton Athletic, Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday all feature on the League One club’s agenda over the next six weeks as they attempt to consolidate their grip on second place.
However, resurgent Bury view the fixture as a chance to close the seven-point gap between themselves and the play-offs positions.
Teams and ref
BURY (possible): Belford, Picken, Skarz, Hughes, Eastham, Sweeney, Schumacher, Carrington, Worrall, Bishop, Amoo (4-4-2).
SHEFFIELD UNITED (possible): Simonsen, Lowton, Maguire, Collins, Jean-Francois, Doyle, McDonald, Williamson, Quinn, Evans, Cresswell (4-4-2).
Nigel Miller (Co Durham):Tomorrow’s match will be the first time Miller has overseen a league game involving either Bury or Sheffield United this season. He did, however, take charge of United’s visit to Everton in the Carling Cup five months ago. Lecsinel Jean-Francois and Ryan Flynn were both booked at Goodison Park.
Bury have not beaten United since October 1995 and lost 4-0 at Bramall Lane earlier this season. Matthew Lowton, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Erik Tonne and Chris Porter were on target for the hosts.