Sheffield United: Chris Wilder's big problem ahead of Crystal Palace clash

Chris Wilder admits the wealth of tactical possibilities at his disposal following a successful summer recruitment drive has presented Sheffield United's coaching staff with a serious but welcome dilemma ahead of Sunday's game against Crystal Palace.

By James Shield
Thursday, 15 August, 2019, 13:26
Ravel Morrison: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

With 10 new players arriving at Bramall Lane during the close season, including new record signing Oli McBurnie and former England international Phil Jagielka, Wilder and his assistant Alan Knill will spend the next 48 hours deciding whether to select an unchanged starting eleven or tweak the side which opened the Premier League season with a 1-1 draw at AFC Bournemouth.

Although wholesale changes are unlikely, United could make a series of subtle adjustments to exploit the weaknesses they have identified in the visitors' armoury. It is not a luxury Wilder enjoyed for long periods of his reign, despite delivering promotion twice since being appointed three years ago.

"The toughest part of the job now is actually picking a team," the United manager said. "Every single one of them (the players) could quite easily start, they all bring something a little bit different.

Chris Wilder: James Wilson/Sportimage

"So whoever we choose, you know there are going to be some lads who you could say deserve to be in who are going to miss out."

Wilder highlighted the case of Ravel Morrison - who missed the trip to Dorset - to emphasise his point, after praising the midfielder's attitude during United's warm-up fixtures. Morrison, who joined United on a free transfer after leaving Ostersund earlier this year, could make his competitive debut when Roy Hodgson's side visit South Yorkshire. Jagielka, McBurnie, Mo Besic and Billy Sharp, who scored United's equaliser against Bournemouth, will also hope to feature.

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"Ravel's attitude has been spot on," Wilder said. "He gives us something different. He was unfortunate he didn't get out there. We just wanted to get another midfielder in the group."

Meanwhile, Colin Calderwood, Wilder's counterpart at Cambridge United, has expressed his frustration at the pace of negotiations aimed at securing Samir Carruthers on loan. Carruthers, who was transfer listed by United following their promotion from the Championship last term, has been training with the League Two club.

Mo Besic: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“There has to be an end point, but ideally the negotiations will progress a little bit sharper and quicker than they have in the past week or so.

"It’s frustrating for me - and probably for Sheffield United and Samir as well - because we really want him in and around the squad and to be available for selection," Calderwood said. "That hasn’t progressed anywhere so far."