Nottingham Forest v Sheffield United: The Derby County player helping Blades to prepare for Forest

Ben Osborn has enlisted the help of a Derby County player and former Sheffield United legend to help prepare him for the experience of facing his old club Nottingham Forest.

Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 9:44 am

Osborn spent 16 years at the City Ground, where Slavisa Jokanovic’s side travel tomorrow night, before joining United following their promotion to the Premier League.

As he gets set to make his first return since moving to South Yorkshire in the summer of 2019, the midfielder told The Star he has spoken with Phil Jagielka ahead of the contest to ensure he is not distracted by the occasion.

“This is the first time that I’m going to have played against an old club,” said Osborn, whose durability and tactical discipline was praised by Jokanovic earlier today. “I was speaking with Jags the other day and he was saying it was so strange coming back to Bramall Lane this season and being against us - marking Billy Sharp and all that. To be honest, I thought he had a brilliant game so I thought I’d pick his brains and ask him.”

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Jagielka, the former England and Everton defender, made 309 appearances during two spells with United before being released last summer. He later joined Forest’s arch-rivals County, where Osborn also spent a brief period as a youngster before being released.

“Jags came to our game against Barnsley,” Osborn said. “I bumped into him there and had a chat as well.”

United travel to the east Midlands 17th in the Championship table, one place above Forest on goal difference. Although Osborn admitted that reflects their inconsistent results since after being relegated last term, he remains convinced they can still mount a challenge for promotion.

Billy Sharp of Sheffield Utd (L) celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot with lliman Ndiaye of Sheffield Utd (C) and Ben Osborn of Sheffield United: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

“I’ve been speaking to a few of the lads there, the ones I know, trying to get bits of information out of them,” said Osborn. “But they’re not giving anything away.”

"One hundred percent, we can’t keep saying this,” he added. “We’ve already got a bit to catch up because of the inconsistencies. We can’t let that gap get too big but we have got to stick with it. And then I’m confident we can go on a good run, because we’re definitely good enough.”

Phil Jagielka of Derby County during the Sky Bet Championship match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis / Sportimage