Nigel Clough expects Huddersfield Town to provide Sheffield United with the sternest test of their pre-season fixture programme so far as the South Yorkshire club’s preparations for next month’s curtain-raiser against Bristol City gather pace.
Mark Robins’ side visit Bramall Lane tonight for the first meeting between these two teams since the 2012 League One play-off final 26 months ago.
Huddersfield, who won that contest 8-7 on penalties, finished 17th in the Championship last term and Clough, whose players beat Dundee 4-2 last week, said: “I fully expect them to be the toughest opposition that we’ve faced since reporting back. Being in the division they are, Huddersfield are a step above everyone else in that regard and they are probably a bit ahead of us in terms of fitness too. But it promises to be a really worthwhile exercise for us.”
With United set to entertain Turkish giants Fenerbahce in a prestige fixture on Thursday evening - the match, which is designed to celebrate the hosts’ 125th anniversary, will also raise funds for the Soma Mining Disaster Fund - Ryan Flynn and Jamal Campbell-Ryce could both be absent tonight after undergoing treatment for slight knocks. James Wallace, the former Tranmere Rovers midfielder, has also been excused but should make his first appearance in a United jersey when they travel to York City this weekend. Failing that, the 22-year-old is expected to feature in an under-21 fixture at Harrogate Town on Tuesday; four days before the televised encounter against City.
Clough said: “We’ll be starting to bring a little bit more structure. I think that was in evidence when Dundee came here. Just patterns of play and things like that.
“But everything we are doing is still geared-up for being as ready as we possibly can be for City. That is the absolute priority above everything else.”
Town, who suffered a first defeat in five pre-season outings when they were beaten by Scunthorpe last weekend, could include James Vaughan in their squad ahead of their Championship clash against AFC Bournemouth.