Tonight’s friendly against Fenerbahçe, the most prestigious fixture on Sheffield United’s pre-season calendar, will prove a vital experience for their latest influx of new players, manager Nigel Clough has insisted.
Although visit of the 19 time Super Lig champions is officially designed to celebrate United’s 125th anniversary and raise money for the Soma Mining Disaster Fund, Clough has told The Star it also marks the end of an important phase in his squad’s development.
“We took a deliberate decision to arrange some warm-up games at home,” he said. “Because we want the lads who have come in to know their way around the place and get used to the surroundings.
“It might sound like small details - being in the dressing room before, walking out of the tunnel and things like that - but it’s key to try and get those right. We don’t want any distractions when the first match comes around. We want them to be focused on their jobs.”
Chris Basham, Marc McNulty and Andy Butler are among those to arrive at Bramall Lane during the close season with Harrison McGahey, the former Blackpool centre-half, set to assume greater responsibility after some impressive displays of late.
Fenerbahçe, managed by Ersun Yanal, face the likes of Sevilla and Chelsea after this evening’s outing in South Yorkshire.
They have included Bruno Alves, Raul Meireles, Diego Ribas, Emre Belozoglu, Mehmet Topal and Selçuk Sahin in their travelling party.