Sheffield United: Blades youngsters could be set for first team auditions

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Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic could use performances during his team’s EFL Cup tie against Carlise to help him decide which young players should be invited to remain with his first team squad this season and those who would benefit from being sent out on loan.

With United set to contest their second match of the new Championship campaign at Swansea City this weekend, Jokanovic is expected to make a number of changes to his starting eleven for tomorrow’s first round tie.

Regan Slater, Daniel Jebbison, Kacper Lopata and Zak Brunt could be among those set to feature, after hearing Jokanovic confirm he has yet to reach a decision on the next phase of their careers.

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“Some will stay, some will go and some can come back to the under-23’s,” the Serb said, acknowledging in-coming transfers will also influence his thinking. “A lot will depend on the people we are able to get, and who comes here. That will also help decide who stays and who leaves. That will decide the decision.”

Regan Slater of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis / SportimageRegan Slater of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Regan Slater of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“I’m really happy with what they offer us, the young people,” Jokanovic continued. “All of them push hard and all of them improve ourselves and what we’ve got.

“How many do we have in different positions? How do we need to balance things? Still, everything is possible. And whatever we do, all of it is for a positive reason. People must always remember that.”

Although he will want to assess some of those on the periphery of his team in competitive action, the disruption Covid-19 caused to United’s pre-season programme could mean Jokanovic is reluctant to completely dismantle the squad which faced Birmingham City on Saturday. Instead, with United only playing two warm-up fixtures before the meeting with Lee Bowyer’s side, he could view Carlisle’s visit as another opportunity to help ensure some of his senior names gain a better understanding of his methods.

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“My intention is always to be ready for games,” Jokanovic said. “And to be competitive. To be focused and concentrated and to put 100 percent into the possibilities that are ahead of us. That is all I am focusing on right now.”