Sheffield United’s players will be judged on their performances during training as well as first team fixtures, manager David Weir has warned.
The former Scotland international made the admission after explaining why Sean McGinty started last weekend’s game against Colchester at Marcus Williams’ expense.
Weir, speaking ahead of today’s visit to Bradford City, said: “If someone does well in the week then they should know their efforts will be rewarded. It’s vitally important that’s the case, that people feel opportunities are there.
“Sean had done well. He’d been doing well behind the scenes for a while so he deserved a go. As simple as that.
“If people do well in training then they should feel as if they’ve got a chance.”
Asked why Williams, whose contract expires at the end of the season, did not even feature among the substitutes, Weir replied: “We had Matty Hill there and he can cover at both full back and centre-half so it seemed to make more sense to give ourselves another option.”
McGinty, who joined United after leaving Manchester United earlier this summer, could make his second appearance for the South Yorkshire club at Valley Parade where their opponents have been beaten only twice in 10 outings.
Weir, whose side prepared for the short journey north 13th in the embryonic League One table, has overhauled its squad since taking charge two months ago but Phil Parkinson, the City manager, yesterday insisted: “I don’t think Sheffield are going to offer anything new that we’ve never seen before.”
Nevertheless Weir indicated during his pre-match media briefing that United could deploy an unexpected tactical twist.
“We are at the start of something new and we need to make judgements. We are learning things about each other and also the competition because it changes year on year.
“But it’s our firm belief that we’re moving in the right direction. The only way you truly learn about players is when they’re in games.”
Weir confirmed earlier this week that he is pursuing several lines of enquiry in the transfer market ahead of next month’s deadline for new signings, despite praising the contributions of youngsters such as Callum McFadzean and Conor Coady.
“We’ll be reliant on a squad rather than just 11 players,” he said. “I’d rather rely on small group we know we can trust.”