Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, is under no illusions about the importance of tonight’s Capital One Cup tie against Mansfield Town at Bramall Lane, writes James Shield.
And Clough, who hopes to unveil a new defender before Saturday’s visit to Coventry City, admitted the first round tie has assumed even greater significance following last weekend’s League One defeat by Bristol City.
“If we can get a win then that will be our first of the season,” he told The Star. “If we don’t then, from outside at least, the pressure starts to build going into our next match and so we want to get off the mark as quickly as we possibly can.
“Yes, we’ll be making changes for this match because we want to keep all of the players fresh. But we know that Mansfield are going to be a really tough test for us and so we’ll still be putting a very strong team out there on the pitch.”
Neill Collins and Michael Doyle, who were omitted from the starting eleven beaten 2-1 by City, are both set to return while Andy Butler could also make his debut after failing to earn a place in the squad for the opening match of the new campaign.
“We just couldn’t get Andy in for that one,” Clough said. “Especially with Collo, another centre-half, already being on the bench.
“It’s pleasing because it shows the depth we’ve got - Stephen McGinn was left out too - but it’s never pleasing to see good players sitting in the stand and they’ve got a good chance of coming in for this one.”
Clough, who guided United from 21st to seventh in the table after taking charge in October, confirmed midfielder James Wallace will miss the meeting with Mansfield due to an on-going groin complaint.
“There’s no worry here despite the fact we lost our first match of the campaign,” Clough said. “Because we saw last time out the type of momentum we can build.”