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At a time when some clubs will say that the international break came at the wrong moment, Slavisa Jokanovic knows that the two-week interval was pivotal in changing Sheffield United’s fortunes for the better.
Seven points and 11 goals have come from fixtures against Peterborough United, Preston North End and Hull City, kick-starting the Blades’ campaign after an abysmal start.
The introductions of Iliman Ndiaye and Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee Morgan Gibbs-White have made all the difference, the midfield duo chipping in with four goals and three assists between them.
Jokanovic will be less than satisfied with the defensive effort of his team with five strikes being conceded during the same triple-header.
Nevertheless, Sheffield United are back among the mix in mid-table, the best scenario that they could have hoped for after failing to win any of their first five fixtures.
Despite Oliver McBurnie‘s goal against Southampton in the EFL Cup, Billy Sharp will lead the Blades attack.
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With a week of preparation, Rooney is likely to stick with the Derby XI which performed so impressively against Stoke in difficult circumstances.Kamil Jozwiak may be considered for a starting role on one of the flanks, potentially taking the place of Louie Sibley.
Sheffield United possible starting lineup:
Olsen; Baldock, Egan, Davies, Norrington-Davies; Hourihane, Fleck; Brewster, Gibbs-White, Osborn; Sharp
Derby County possible starting lineup:
Roos; Byrne, Jagielka, Davies, Buchanan; Bird, Shinnie; Sibley, Morrison, Lawrence; Baldock