We’re now just hours away from kick off at Bramall Lane and a game that could see us move up to 11th and FIVE clear of the drop zone with a win.
Many will be expecting Bruce to field the same side that earned a deserved 2-2 draw with Man City last weekend, but with the busy festive period and Sunday’s big game with Southampton in mind, he may yet tinker.
The first potential change is the return of Fabian Schar. Reliable trio Fernandez, Clark and Dummett have done little wrong, but it goes without saying that the Swiss international brings that calmness and quality that we lacked from the back at Villa Park in our last away outing.
Not only do we need to use the ball better, we need players who can make the most of our counter-attacking assets – and Schar’s ability to dribble out of defence and create from deep could be key to unsettling this high energy unit that Chris Wilder has created.
It’s hard to say who he’d come in for, but my guess would be Dummett IF Bruce brought Schar back in, meaning Clark would play down our left, Fernandez in a central role and Schar down the right-side of our back three.
The second change – and this seems more unlikely – is for Dwight Gayle to be given a rare chance to start.
Joelinton caused Man City problems to an extent, but he never looked like scoring once again. In a game like this, we’ll either need to fight fire with fire with Sheffield Utd or to be ruthless and take our chances when they come on the counter – and I’m not sure the Brazilian is in the best place to give us that right now.
I’d be happy if Joelinton started as I’m a firm believer he’ll come good with time, but this is a big game and one that can not afford to serve up a repeat of our last away performance.
Some may believe changes would be silly and risky, but I’d argue it’s a risk to play the same side who looked so awful (in all areas) at Villa last week, so it would not surprise me if both Schar and Gayle came in to give us that extra bit of quality at both ends of the pitch.