Sheffield United Digest: Slavisa Jokanovic set for crunch key man talks; Blades seek friendly opponents; Boss on Lys Mousset

Slavisa Jokanovic is set for talks with a potentially key member of his Sheffield United squad ahead of their season opener against Birmingham City next weekend.

Friday, 30th July 2021, 6:00 am

Luke Freeman has confirmed he wants to stay at United, after a frustrating spell on loan at Nottingham Forest last season.

Freeman hopes Jokanovic’s appointment earlier this summer will finally kick-start his career with United having enjoyed limited opportunities to impress over the past 24 months.

Freeman told The Star following Wednesday night’s friendly against Doncaster Rovers that his heart is set on earning a place in the Serb’s starting 11.

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But that pledge came with a caveat: Having turned 29 in March, Freeman admitted he could look to move on if Jokanovic informs him he is destined to be handed a bit part role as United look to regain Premier League status at the first time of asking.

“I haven’t had the chance to speak to him (Jokanovic) yet properly,” Freeman said. “We’ve only been back in pre-season for two or three weeks. But we will (talk) before the season starts, I’m sure, and then take things from there.” READ FULL STORY HERE

Freeman says Slav’s tactics suit him better

Luke Freeman has set his sights on winning a place in Sheffield United’s starting 11 next season, after insisting the tactics adopted by Slavisa Jokanovic suit him better than those employed by the Serb’s predecessor Chris Wilder.

Slavisa Jokanovic, manager of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

The midfielder, who has entered the final year of his contract at Bramall Lane, believes that Jokanovic’s appointment has provided him with a fresh start following two difficult seasons in South Yorkshire.

Signed from Queens Park Rangers following United’s promotion to the Premier League in 2019, Freeman made only 16 appearances during his first 12 months with the club before spending last term on loan with Nottingham Forest.

Reflecting on Jokanovic’s appointment, United’s relegation from the top-flight and what proved to be an injury hit spell at the City Ground, Freeman told The Star he now wants to remain at Bramall Lane and earn a new deal under the former Watford and Fulham manager. READ FULL STORY HERE

Blades pulling out the stops to find a friendly opponent

Sheffield United are “pulling out all the stops” to try and identify opposition for a friendly at Bramall Lane this weekend, after Norwich City were forced to cancel their visit to South Yorkshire because of a Covid-19 outbreak within Daniel Farke’s squad.

In a sign of how desperate their new manager Slavisa Jokanovic is to arrange one last outing before the start of the Championship season, United have let it be known they are even willing to play on Sunday night rather than the Saturday 3pm slot which had been earmarked for the clash with City.

Burnley are also among a number of clubs whose schedules have been affected by the pandemic, with Nottingham Forest announcing they can not fulfil their fixture against Sean Dyche’s side for similar reasons.

Privately, United hope one of those sides who also face being left without a game will agree to face them. READ FULL STORY HERE

Graham explains decision to leave Blades for Rochdale

Sam Graham has explained his decision to leave Sheffield United after signing a two-year deal with League Two side Rochdale.

Graham, known at United as ‘Bomber’, the nickname his dad Herol used in his boxing career, leaves United on a free transfer, although the Blades say they have inserted a number of clauses into the deal.

The 20-year-old has previously represented FC Halifax Town, Oldham Athletic and Notts County in loan spells, as well as a stint at A-League side Central Coast Mariners in Australia.

“I’m so pleased to get the deal done,” said Graham. READ FULL STORY HERE

Fans are being shafted again – James Shield’s column

Let’s get this straight. Sheffield United fans - actually, make that football fans in general - are getting shafted yet again.

If being herded around like animals before every away trip isn’t enough, or getting blamed for every ill in society by the dinner party set now, post-Euro 2020, the minute they’ve decided the game is no longer fashionable - now we’re supposed to believe that proper supporters, the ones who know a couple of ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ doesn’t really constitute backing a team, are disease-ridden imbeciles who need vaccine passports to attend games.

Mark my words, if there’s any hint of a spike in Covid-19 cases over the next month or so, we’ll be required to carry bells and holler “unclean, unclean” whenever we’re outside of a stadium. READ FULL STORY HERE

How all 23 Blades fared at Donny

Sheffield United hammered Doncaster Rovers 4-0 in their penultimate pre-season friendly at Doncaster Rovers on Wednesday night, raising hopes further ahead of the big season kick-off next weekend.

Lys Mousset took his tally to three goals in two warm-up games with a well-taken brace at the Keepmoat, while the travelling 3,000 Blades supporters were treated to 45-minute cameos from star men Aaron Ramsdale and Sander Berge as speculation continues to rage over their futures.

Here’s a look at how all 23 Blades players fared on the evening, ahead of next weekend’s Championship curtain-raiser at home to Birmingham City. READ FULL STORY HERE

Former goalkeeper is lauded on night of celebration at Keepmoat

As Paddy Kenny filtered into Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium last night, it didn’t take long for him to be recognised and asked for a selfie by an excited Sheffield United fan.

Word soon spread that he was at the game and after kick-off, it didn’t take long at all for a couple of chants to be sung in his direction. “So much love for Dem Blades,” Kenny tweeted later that night. It was certainly reciprocated at the Keepmoat.

This was a night of celebration, and not just because United breezed past their opponents 4-0. For the first time in 17 months, a packed end of Blades fans greeted their heroes as they emerged from the tunnel; the first rendition of the Greasy Chip Butty song from an away end in far, far too long was spine-tingling. READ FULL STORY HERE

Why Jokanovic’s approach bodes well for Blades

Richie Wellens, the Doncaster Rovers boss, has admitted he found it difficult to prepare to face Sheffield United last night under their new boss Slavisa Jokanović.

The Blades breezed past their League One opponents, winning 4-0 in a dominant performance. The winning margin could easily have been greater, as Rhian Brewster and Oli Burke – who scored the opener – spurned gilt-edged chances.

And Wellens, whose side faced Premier League side Newcastle recently, admitted: “For Newcastle we planned, we knew how they were going to play because they’ve had the same manager for a long time and we know the system they’re going to play and the players." READ FULL STORY HERE

What Jokanovic has told Mousset

There has never been any doubt about his ability.

Even Lys Mousset’s most acerbic of detractors admit professionalism, or lack of it, is the only thing stopping him from realising his potential.

But the centre-forward’s performances during pre-season, which have spawned three goals in two outings for Sheffield United, suggest a change of attitude and approach.

Some believe Slavisa Jokanovic’s presence has been the catalyst. But the Serb, who took charge of the club earlier this month, instead credits the player with making the lifestyle adjustments which maybe, just maybe, will prevent his talent going to waste. READ FULL STORY HERE