SHEFFIELD United’s tactical master plan for Sunday’s Steel City derby is shrouded in secrecy.
But manager Danny Wilson looks set to place his faith in tried and tested talent rather than Bramall Lane’s precocious young guns after granting the likes of Erik Tonne, David McAllister and Elian Parrino permission to feature for the reserves at Stoke yesterday.
The squad which travelled to Clayton Wood provided the first clue as to the United team which, barring injury or illness, is likely to lock horns with arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday this weekend.
Although Wilson recently reiterated his commitment to youth - he told The Star that Elliott Whitehouse is the latest academy star being considered for promotion - it
seems certain that the huge physical and psychological pressures associated with these contests means up-and-coming talents must be satisfied with supporting rather than starring roles.
Despite refusing to be drawn on the make-up of his starting 11, Wilson has shown no hesitation in jumping to the defence of players singled out for criticism following the defeat by League One leaders Charlton Athletic earlier this month.
“The one thing I will never have anyone criticise my players for is lack of effort or professionalism,” Wilson said. “They’ve got an excellent attitude and that became apparent to me from day one in the job.
“When you’ve got that, you’ve always got a chance of doing well.”
Meanwhile, United’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie with Bradford City has been selected for live broadcast by Sky television.
The Northern Area quarter-final takes place at Bramall Lane on Tuesday November 8 (kick-off 7.45pm).
Former United players Kyel Reid and Marcel Seip could feature for the visitors.
Goalkeeper Matt Duke, who spent the summer training with Danny Wilson’s side, is also expected to feature after joining Phil Parkinson’s side.