Sheffield United Fan's Column: Proof the balance of power in this city has shifted

There's not a lot to say about the derby match since not a lot happened, which is unique for a home game under Chris Wilder this season.

Thursday, 18th January 2018, 9:00 pm
John Fleck was fortunate not to be injured by Ross Wallace, says Matthew Bell: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

That says a lot for the way Jos Luhukay got his new team organised so quickly, a feat that seemed beyond his predecessor.

Something else that says a lot is the way Wednesday and their fans celebrated a goalless draw away to the Dog and Duck. Okay, they had several important players missing and were a man down for 25 minutes, but that was evidence, if in fact more were needed, of the shift in the balance of power in the city since August.

Talking of the sending off, I thought Loovens was unlucky with his second yellow as he got his foot caught in the turf and tumbled into Donaldson rather than deliberately fouling him. If he was unlucky, then Ross Wallace was dead lucky. He should have had two or three yellows for his constant mouthing at the referee and standing on the ball at free kicks, then his launch into John Fleck’s shin…well.

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When Fleck gets sent off for less than that, yet Wallace gets away with it (as did Leeds player Kalvin Williams for his over-the-top challenge on George Baldock), you know exactly what Darren Ferguson is talking about.

Wilder has signed an entire midfield in a few days. At the start of the season we were a man light there, with only John Lundstram to cover both Fleck and Paul Coutts, so when Coutts went down we needed another two, who arrived last week.

Samir Carruthers was cover for Mark Duffy, but he hasn’t taken any of the chances offered him, so now we have Ricky Holmes to challenge Duff. It’s noticeable that United play best when Duffy is on top form, which he wasn’t against Wednesday.

Hopefully Holmes, who Wilder had been chasing since the January transfer window, can be just as influential and his free kicks will add a new dimension.