Sheffield United plan friendly against local rivals during World Cup break ahead of Championship restart

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Sheffield United will play a warm-up game against one of their local rivals as they look to get back up to speed ahead of the Championship restart next month.

United considered going abroad during the World Cup break for some warm-weather training but instead will prepare for December 10’s Championship restart against Huddersfield Town at the Shirecliffe academy, after giving those members of Paul Heckingbottom’s squad not injured or involved with their countries a week or so of rest and relaxation to recharge the batteries.

A series of behind-closed-doors friendly games are also expected to be played to ease United back into semi-competitive action, with one of those planned against their local neighbours Rotherham United. The game will be played just weeks after the two met in Championship action, with the Millers earning their first win at Bramall Lane since 1980 earlier this month thanks to Ben Wiles’ finish.

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The geographic distance between two clubs is thought to be an obvious advantage to a warm-up fixture, with both sides expected to heavily rotate their sides to get minutes back into legs ahead of the Championship re-start. The two sides also faced each other in a behind-closed-doors game earlier this year and staff behind the scenes at Bramall Lane and the New York Stadium get on well.

The Millers have jetted away over the break, to Cyprus, and have an inter-squad friendly planned for the weekend before they take on the Blades at an undisclosed location, to fine-tune preparations for the second half of what will be a gruelling Championship season.

From United’s perspective, the four-week break has been more about coaxing some of their key men back to fitness, and giving others a much-needed mental and physical rest, as anything else. United’s players had physical plans prescribed to them for their break and as such, they will not face a usual pre-season programme when they report back to the Shirecliffe academy.

Reda Khadra will hope to get some much-needed minutes in a behind-closed-doors game against Rotherham United over the World Cup break: Andrew Yates / SportimageReda Khadra will hope to get some much-needed minutes in a behind-closed-doors game against Rotherham United over the World Cup break: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
Reda Khadra will hope to get some much-needed minutes in a behind-closed-doors game against Rotherham United over the World Cup break: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

“The biggest thing for me, from my perspective, is that we freshen everyone up and then get ready to go again,” Heckingbottom said before the break. “We still need to be working, though. So after the breaks that some of them will have, then it will be back into it.”

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