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When Billy Sharp netted a late equaliser for Sheffield United against Huddersfield Town on Saturday, the reaction from the players and supporters was one of pure relief.
However, while collecting just a point would have still been regarded as unsatisfactory, conceding a decisive goal just seconds later summed up the Blades’ start under Slavisa Jokanovic.
Sheffield United were supposed to be among a number of other strong teams in the battle for promotion, but just one goal from four games has left the Serbian with an uphill task when it comes to making an impression in Yorkshire.
Although Jokanovic will be provided with plenty of time to put things right and oversee a change in personnel, alarm bells will inevitably be ringing as the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Fulham look a class above this division.
Like his opposite number, Rooney will not be prioritising progress in this competition as he places full focus on trying to keep Derby in the Championship.
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Nevertheless, he will likely use this game to hand further experience to the club’s prospects, who have become increasingly important with Derby only allowed to sign players on free transfers.
Rooney took that approach when making his team selection against Salford in the previous round, Derby impressively fighting back from an early two-goal deficit to win on penalties.