Sheffield United face big selection dilemmas

Before Sheffield United’s FA Cup victory over Millwall - a result which set-up this fifth round tie at Reading - Chris Wilder insisted he was serious about going deep into a tournament some of his counterparts have bizarrely come to regard as an irritation.
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But it was United’s team selection for the contest, on a surface more akin to something from Sunday League football rather than a Championship pitch, which confirmed the 52-year-old harboured genuine aspirations of reaching the later stages. Perhaps, depending upon the luck of the draw, even going one better than Nigel Clough’s 2014 semi-finalists.

On Tuesday night, at the Madejski Stadium, United are expected to name a strong eleven again.

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There will almost certainly be changes, with David McGoldrick and John Lundstram both being tipped to feature from the outset. But all of those selected could, quite conceivably, also find their names on the team sheet when Norwich City travel to South Yorkshire in the Premier League on Saturday.

After finding themselves without a game over the weekend, thanks to Aston Villa’s appearance in the EFL Cup final, there is an argument that, in order to maintain momentum, Wilder could pick almost exactly the same squad which drew with Brighton and Hove Albion nine days ago.

Enda Stevens is unlikely to be risked after sustaining a calf injury during that match but, the Republic of Ireland international apart, all of those who took part against Graham Potter’s side finished the contest with a clean bill of health.

But after praising the performances of some of those on the fringes of his first choice eleven during training, Wilder will also want to reward their commitment. Panos Retsos, signed on loan from Bayer Leverkusen during the recent transfer window, could be handed his United debut while Luke Freeman, Lys Mousset and maybe Leon Clarke are hopeful of facing Reading.

Richairo Zivkovic, another loanee, is another option for Wilder to consider.