Sheffield United have unveiled plans to hold a series of behind-closed-doors friendlies between now and the end of the season as Chris Wilder’s side attempts to reach the Championship next term.
The League One leaders will play undisclosed opponents at the Steelphalt Academy later this week after coaching staff acknowledged some members of their squad could be lacking sharpness following a shortage of game time.
Stefan Scougall, Louis Reed, Chris Hussey and James Wilson are all expected to feature while Leon Clarke, whose campaign has been plagued by ankle issues, is also pencilled in for a role.
“There are only so many running sessions you can do,” Wilder said. “These lads want to get out and have a kick of the ball, play some football.
“Between now and the end of the season, I’d imagine this is something we’ll do a lot more of. We’re in a good place with the group.”
Wilder has spoken about the importance of fostering a group mentality.
“If we do what we want to do, it’s only natural people away from the club will highlight some (players) more than others,” he said. “But we won’t.”
But, with eight matches remaining, the United manager’s desire to arrange practice matches for those on the periphery of his starting 11 has a sporting as well as sentimental purpose.
“Leon is back in full training,” Wilder said. “He needs to get back up to speed. The behind-closed doors-games will help, together with the work he is doing with the sports scientists.”