SHEFFIELD UNITED: Blades gear up for toughest pre-season test

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DANNY Wilson, the Sheffield United manager, believes tonight’s friendly at Rotherham’s New York Stadium will provide the clearest picture yet of his squad’s strengths and weaknesses.

Although Wilson declared last week’s visit to Malta a “resounding success”, he did express concerns about the quality of playing surface United were forced to contend during games against Zejtun Corinthians and Hibernians.

Wilson, who yesterday completed the signings of Shaun Miller, Tony McMahon and Matt Hill, does not expect to encounter similar problems at South Yorkshire’s newest footballing facility.

“We had some good work-outs over there but, admittedly, some of the pitches weren’t the best,” said Wilson.

“When the ball doesn’t quite run true you have to make adjustments and for people like John (Cofie) that can be a particular problem because of the nature of their game.”

New York Stadium, situated on the site of a factory which once made the American city’s iconic fire hydrants, opened its doors 10 days ago.

This evening’s contest is expected to be the first time it hosts a five-figure crowd with United selling around 3,500 tickets.

Away supporters in the home ends have been warned they will be ejected.

“There’s a great relationship between our clubs,” a Rotherham spokesperson said. “But they will be ejected as per ground regulations.”