Sheffield United boss labels Peterborough United ‘a long-ball, counter-attacking team’, key men could be back, a Posh/Blades thriller from 2016, big match odds and a surprising struggle
Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic expects long balls and counter attacks from Peterborough United in their Championship fixture at Bramall Lane tomorrow (September 11, 3pm).
Jokanovic made his views known during his pre-match press conference this morning (Friday). The Blades are desperate for a win having picked up just two points and scored just one goal in five Championship matches.
When asked about Posh, Jokanovic said: “I expect a Championship team with energy, with long ball, with counter attack and waiting for that one moment.
“I believe we will win the possession game, but this is not important. We need to play with patience. They will close the space and play for counter (attacks). This is a typical Championship game and I need my players to be more relaxed and more calm when they take a decision and trust in themselves.
“Our expectation is to create more, create chances and score goals. “We are not finding so many problems with defensive field, but we are looking for more ways of enjoying football. It’s not about having possession it’s about scoring the goals.”
Key players could be returning to face Posh. Experienced forward David McGoldrick missed the goalless draw at Luton last time out with a back strain, while George Baldock limped off midway through the first half, but both should be fit to face Posh.
And defender Enda Stevens and forward Lys Mousset could also be back this weekend. Stevens is yet to to play this season, but is close to a return to fitness as is Mousset who picked up a hamstring strain in the opening day defeat to Birmingham.
New signing Conor Hourihane and John Egan have been with the Ireland squad during the international break, while new goalkeeper Robin Olsen has been away with Sweden.
Hourihane had many clubs seeking his signature last month, but chose Sheffield United because he wanted to work with Jokanavic who won promotion from the Championship with Fulham.
Misfiring Blades forward Rhiann Brewster has been with England Under 21s.
Posh have won two and lost four of their six League games against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Posh won 3-2 in League One in 2016 thanks to brilliant goals from Conor Washington, Erhun Oztumer and Martin Samuelsen.
Posh: Alnwick, Smith, Fox, Santos, Baldwin, Oztumer, Beautyman, Taylor, Maddison, Forrester, Washington. Subs used: Addison, Wilson, Samuelsen.
Posh also won 2-1 the previous season thanks to late goals from Jack Payne and Washington, but the Blades won the last meeting 1-0, also in 2016.
Few would have anticipated such a bad start to the Championship season from Sheffield United.
The Blades have lost both of their home games so far, 1-0 on opening day to Birmingham City and 2-1 to Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield.
United’s only points have arrived from 0-0 draws at Swansea and Luton Town. They also got battered 4-0 at the Hawthorns by West Brom.
The Blades have reached the third round of the Carabao Cup after narrow home wins over Carlisle and Derby.
BIG MATCH ODDS
Sheffield United are still only 6/1 to win promotion this season despite failing to win any of their first five games.
They are 4/6 with Sky Bet to beat Posh on Saturday with Darren Ferguson’s side priced up at 9/2 and the draw at 13/5.
Posh are now 15/8 third favourites to be relegated after Derby (5/6) and Blackpool (7/4).
Jonson Clarke-Harris is 25/1 to be the Championship’s top scorer. He has yet to score this season.