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Sheffield United headed into the new Championship campaign hoping to earn a return to the Premier League at the second time of asking, after Paul Heckingbottom‘s appointment early last season triggered an improvement at Bramall Lane and saw the Blades earn a playoff place.
Having eventually finished fifth thanks to a strong second half to the campaign, they booked a semi-final tie with Nottingham Forest, and, after a 1-0 home defeat and an opening goal for Steve Cooper‘s men at the City Ground, the South Yorkshire outfit were able to take the contest to extra time as Morgan Gibbs-White and John Fleck hit second-half goals.
Eventually falling short in a penalty shootout, the Blades headed into a summer of preparation for their second year back in the Championship with several changes made to Heckingbottom’s squad, as the loans of Gibbs-White, Ben Davies and Conor Hourihane came to an end, while Anel Ahmedhodzic, Ciaran Clark, Tommy Doyle and Reda Khadra have all come through the door at Bramall Lane.
They faced the tough test of a trip to Watford to kick off the new term on Monday, and, after a goalless first half, the Blades were eventually condemned to a narrow defeat as Joao Pedro finished off a breakaway for the hosts.
Now looking for a first win in their bid to establish themselves in the leading pack in England’s second tier, Heckingbottom’s men will hope to make the most of home advantage in their first game at Bramall Lane of the new league season and put three points on the board.
Sheffield United have several injuries to contend with, as defenders Jack Robinson and Chris Basham are set to miss out alongside long-term absentee Jack O’Connell, while Tommy Doyle and Oli McBurnie are also sidelined and Enda Stevens was forced off with a knock against Watford.
With Stevens’s availability unclear, Rhys Norrington-Davies could move across to the left-wing-back role with Anel Ahmedhodzic set to come into the back three for his competitive debut after serving a one-match suspension on Monday.
After missing the end of last season, captain Billy Sharp was fit to come off the bench last time out, but Heckingbottom may continue to ease the 36-year-old back into action with Daniel Jebbison or Rhian Brewster more likely to lead the line, while Iliman Ndiaye and Sander Berge should again play in support of a lone frontman.
Millwall will be without new midfielder George Honeyman for Saturday’s game, as he is suspended after being sent off in their cup defeat to Cambridge, although the Lions are not expected to be dealing with any serious injury concerns.
Rowett will again line his side up in a 3-4-2-1 system, with Leeds United loanee Charlie Cresswell set to operate in the back three likely alongside Jake Cooper and Murray Wallace.
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Further forward, Benik Afobe should take back his place up front after dropping out for the EFL Cup contest, with Tom Bradshaw and new signing Zian Flemming set to play behind the frontman, given Honeyman’s suspension and the summer departure of star man Jed Wallace.
Sheffield United possible starting lineup:
Foderingham; Ahmedhodzic, Egan, Clark; Baldock, Fleck, Norwood, Norrington-Davies; Berge, Ndiaye; Brewster
Millwall possible starting lineup:
Bialkowski; Cresswell, Cooper, Wallace; Leonard, Mitchell, Saville, Malone; Flemming, Bradshaw; Afobe