Sheffield United: Blades plot intelligent approach

Manager David Weir oversees training  � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Manager David Weir oversees training � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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David Weir says his team must be tactically flexible or risk failing to fulfil its potential next term, writes James Shield.

And the Sheffield United manager, speaking ahead of today’s meeting with Mansfield Town, underlined the message by pledging to adopt a style of play which suits the options at his disposal rather than become a hostage to principle.

Weir told The Star: “We’ll formulate a system which brings the best out of us rather than impose something. To do otherwise isn’t sensible.”

With only two designated first-team friendlies remaining following their outing at Field Mill, United will hope to continue their recent progress against Paul Cox’s side. Weir, who took charge of the visitors last month, has seen them overcome Greenock Morton, Raith Rovers and Bury since returning to training earlier this summer with a draw at Cowdenbeath the only blemish on their pre-season record so far.

Chris Porter and Joe Ironside will be hoping to press their claims for a starting role when Notts County travel to Bramall Lane for the League One curtainraiser on August 2 while fellow centre-forward Lyle Taylor could make his United debut following a £250,000 transfer from Falkirk.

Ryan Flynn is also expected to feature after recovering from a hip injury but Tony McMahon, the former Middlesbrough defender, is unlikely to make the trip despite returning to light training. McMahon missed last season’s ill-fated play-off semi-final with Yeovil Town after being diagnosed with an Achilles problem which required surgery to correct.

Weir, whose charges host Atromitos FC on Friday before completing their pre-season schedule at York City 24 hours later, also announced a fixture against Alfreton on Monday.

But, with the contest coinciding with long-standing date at Stocksbridge, United will send a mixture of young talent and experienced campaigners to the Impact Arena.

*Twitter: @JamesShield1