Sheffield United: What you need to know about The Blades season opener against Birmingham City
Sheffield United begin their new season with a game against Birmingham City at Bramall Lane.
As Slavisa Jokanovic prepares for his first game as the hosts’ manager, The Star looks at some of the other figures set to be involved and studies the form guide.
The Referee: Tim Robinson, from West Sussex, is scheduled to take charge of the fixture, George Byrne and Nik Barnard are his assistants, with Andy Woolmer being selected as the fourth official. Robinson averaged 3.075 cautions per game last season, and issued five red cards. The most recent of those came during City’s 2-1 win over Reading in December, when their defender Harlee Dean was sent-off with 20 minutes remaining. Robinson oversaw AFC Bournemouth’s play-off semi-final against Brentford at the end of the previous campaign.
The Managers: This is United’s first competitive outing under Jokanovic, who started work at the beginning of last month. The Serb has previously led Watford and Fulham to promotion from the Championship. He joined United after deciding to leave Al-Gharafa of Qatar. Bowyer, the City head coach, returned to St Andrews in March after previously representing them as a player. He has a win ratio of exactly 50 percent from his 10 matches at the helm so far.
The Dangerman: City striker Scott Hogan joined United on loan from Aston Villa during their 2018/19 promotion winning campaign under Chris Wilder, scoring twice in eight league starts as they climbed out of the Championship. He also enjoyed a brief spell with Stocksbridge Park Steels before making his professional debut for AFC Rochdale. Aged 29, Hogan scored seven times in 33 league appearances for Bowyer’s men last season. One of those came during their win over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough six months ago.
The Form Guide: City lost their final two outings of last season, en route to a 18th placed finish after seemingly being destined for relegation before Bowyer’s appointment. However they were unbeaten in six before losing first to Cardiff City and then Blackburn Rovers. That run contained wins over Swansea City, Stoke City, Rotherham United and Derby County. They also drew with Brentford and Nottingham Forest. United won two of their final three fixtures last term, having seen their relegation from the Premier League confirmed following a 1-0 defeat at Wolves in April.