Sheffield United: The lowdown on today's Yorkshire derby against Hull City
After being praised for “making progress” following their difficult start to the new season, Sheffield United will hope to prove the mental scars caused by last term’s relegation from the Premier League have completely healed at Hull City this afternoon (kick-off 12.30pm).
Slavisa Jokanovic’s side enter the lunchtime fixture unbeaten in three, after sandwiching a 6-2 win over Peterborough in between draws with Luton Town and Preston North End. The latter, which took place at Bramall Lane on Tuesday night, saw the visitors snatched an equaliser in added time with Emil Riis cancelling out Sander Berge’s second-half strike. Earlier, Morgan Gibbs-White had scored for the second time in as many matches to give United the lead before Daniel Johnson levelled.
With Jokanovic insisting regaining confidence, not underlining their quality, is the biggest challenge facing his squad at present, The Star’s James Shield identifies some of the key figures set to be involved in this Yorkshire derby and themes surrounding the contest.
The Possible Teams: City - Ingram, Greaves, Coyle, Elder, Bernard, Smallwood, Wilks. Docherty, M Smith, T Smith, Magennis. United - Olsen, Baldock, Egan, Davies, Norrington-Davies, Fleck, Norwood, Berge, Gibbs-White, Osborn, Sharp.
The Referee: Dean Whitestone will take charge, assisted by Shaun Hudson and Geoffrey Liddle. Sebastian Stockbridge is the fourth official. A member of the Select Group 2 and from Northamptonshire, Whitestone averages 2.83 cautions per game this term. That compares to 1.87 last season. Today’s fixture will be his second visit to City since competition resumed in August, with four yellow cards being issued - three of those to the away team - when Derby County triumphed 1-0 there a month ago.
The Form Guide: City have not won since beating Preston North End, who drew with United four days ago, on the opening weekend of the new campaign. They have lost four of their subsequent six league outings. United average 0.86 points per game this term, after appointing Jokanovic in May.
The Goals: United have yet to score on their travels this season. But they have scored eight goals in their last two outings, with six of those coming against Peterborough last weekend. City have yet to score at home in the Championship this season.
The Former Player: Tyler Smith joined City from United during the summer transfer window, having represented his former club against Carlisle in the Carabao Cup earlier this season. He has made three appearances since, with two of those coming from the bench.
The History Books: This will be the 60th meeting between these two clubs, with United winning 26 of those and 19 ending all square. United won 3-0 on their last visit to East Yorkshire, a result which effectively sealed their automatic promotion to the Premier League in 2019. They also beat City 1-0 at Bramall Lane earlier that term. However, before David McGoldrick’s brace and an Enda Stevens strike put City to the sword, United had lost their previous two away matches against City. The most recent draw at the MKM Stadium between United and City came in 2007.