Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has hinted at numerous changes for the FA Cup clash with Leicester City despite his side coming off the back of a 2-1 victory over Leeds United, The Sheffield Star report.
Among those expected to feature is Danny Lafferty, an ever-present last season during his side’s League One campaign but this season he has found opportunities hard to come by following the arrival of Enda Stevens.
Lafferty has featured in just a handful of Championship games, and he last completed 90 minutes back in September in the 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium.
With United into the fifth round of the FA Cup, supporters are hopeful of extending their run but Wilder has suggested he will make numerous changes to the side, risking some discontent from sections of the supporters.
“It won’t be the same team that started against Leeds, that’s for sure. But we’ve got a good group,” Wilder told the Sheffield Star.
“Take Danny Lafferty, let’s talk about him. He’s a Northern Ireland international, he played all the way through last season. Then Enda (Stevens) has come in and started strongly.”
“But if Enda fell down the stairs tomorrow, I would have no fear whatsoever about putting Danny in. I’d have no qualms about him taking part in the next 16 or so games.”
Wilder’s comments suggest he is looking to play a weakened team against the Foxes, clearly focusing on the Championship which can go either way in terms of having the desired effect.
On one hand it keeps his better players fresh for the league campaign in which the Blades are pushing for a spot in the playoffs, but a heavy defeat to Leicester having made numerous changes could disrupt momentum and hamper confidence.
And what about the supporters and especially those travelling down to Leicester? Surely, they will want to see their club do their utmost to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals – and not throw the towel in before the game has even started.
United have reached the fifth-round stage having beaten fellow Championship sides Ipswich Town and Preston North End by the same 1-0 score-line in previous rounds.