Sheffield United: Macca braced for hostile reception

Tony McMahon
Tony McMahon
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Tony McMahon, the Sheffield United defender, has warned his team mates not to expect a warm welcome from their new manager.

McMahon, who is scheduled to miss the start of next season through injury, admitted coaching staff will want to see a positive response following last term’s disappointment.

“When we return on the first day of pre-season all the lads must be ready to graft hard because it won’t be easy, nor should it,” McMahon, who missed the League One play-off semi-final defeat by Yeovil Town, said.

“The new manager will expect a response from last season and it is down to the players to react positively.

“I came here to win promotion last summer, so we have to make sure next season is our year.”

McMahon, aged 27, signed a two year contract at Bramall Lane after parting company with Middlesbrough. Although the Achilles complaint which forced him to miss United’s last four matches of the campaign does not require surgery, specialists have prescribed plenty of rest.

“When the new manager arrives there will be some players who will probably have to move on and although it’s never nice, it’s part of football these days,” McMahon added.

Members of United’s footballing department have been piecing together a programme of summer friendlies ever since directors began searching in earnest for Danny Wilson’s successor nearly four weeks ago.

Despite previously basing themselves on the island of Malta, the club’s first team squad are expected to base themselves in Scotland next month although the identity of United’s opponents have yet to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, coach Peter Taylor has revealed George Long had to pass a rigorous selection process before being named in the England squad for the FIFA under-20 World Cup finals later this month.

The United goalkeeper is the only player plying their trade below Championship level to book a seat on the plane to Turkey and Taylor said:

“I’ve watched a lot of players and football and it was very difficult,” he explained. “I watched the majority of them and with the majority of clubs that I’ve been to, everybody has been very good and the managers have been terrific, letting me watch training and speak to the players.”