Sheffield United: Rival manager makes an admission about the prospect of playing at Bramall Lane
Sheffield United have been warned that Peterborough, their latest Championship opponents, are inspired rather than intimidated by the thought of performing at Bramall Lane.
The message, relayed by the visitors’ manager Darren Ferguson, highlights one of the challenges facing Slavisa Jokanovic’s side as they attempt to regain Premier League status at the first time of asking following last term’s relegation.
Acknowledging he views United’s scalp as one of the most coveted in the division and referencing the talent at his counterpart’s disposal, Ferguson said: “But it’s the chance to play at a great stadium in front of passionate fans and we will have an excellent following ourselves.
“Obviously we will need to play better than in our previous two away games. But we are looking stronger. We’ve gone toe to toe with a couple of big clubs already this season, so we know we can compete.”
Despite their differences in size and stature, Ferguson’s men used the momentum they gained en route to promotion last season to frustrate West Bromwich Albion when they travelled to London Road before the international break. Hours after United - whose only victories since Jokanovic’s appointment have come in the EFL Cup - were labouring their way towards a goalless draw at Luton Town, West Brom required an injury time strike from Semi Ajayi to see off a Peterborough outfit who could hand a debut to the on-loan Conor Coventry this weekend.
Despite losing both of their away matches this term - at Kenilworth Road and Preston North End - Ferguson also hopes the return to fitness of Seriki Dembele could enable his team to cause United problems as Jokanovic looks to integrate a trio of new faces into his own starting eleven.
Although Ben Davies arrived from Liverpool midway through last month, United’s inability to process quick deals for fellow loan signings Robin Olsen, Morgan Gibbs-White and Conor Hourihane means they must learn the Serb’s tactics on the job rather than the training ground.
“They were always going to strengthen,” continued Ferguson, speaking to the Peterborough Telegraph. “They tried to sign a couple more as well but the deals fell through.”