Sheffield United will bump into a familiar face when they make their first ever trip to Fleetwood Town next season.
Former Blades player Chris Lucketti, a rugged, no-nonsense centre-back during his playing days, is now No 2 to Graham Alexander at Highbury.
It’s been a special couple of days for Lucketti and Alexander following the Cod Army’s success at Wembley. They recorded a 1-0 win over Burton Albion in Monday’s League Two play-off final thanks to a second-half strike by Antoni Sarcevic, a result which secured the club’s sixth promotion in the last 10 seasons.
Lucketti, who had previously lost in finals with Bury and Preston North End, initially joined United on loan from Preston in March 2006, making two starts and one substitute appearance.
Following the Blades promotion to the Premier League, Lucketti was snapped up on a permanent basis by manager Neil Warnock. United paid £300,000 for Lucketti’s services and he featured eight times in the top flight. He struggled to hold down a regular first-team spot as United failed to beat the drop.
Lucketti, who began his career at Rochdale, conceded that the solitary season United spent in the Premier League helped him realise a career aspiration.
“United helped me fulfil my biggest ambition, which was to play in the top flight,” said Lucketti.
“It was fantastic to do that, and definitely the highlight of my career. I had a lovely time there (at Bramall Lane), at a fantastic club with a great set of lads. I got to know some people at United who I will be staying friends with for a long time.”
Kevin Blackwell, Warnock’s successor at United, allowed Lucketti to return to Huddersfield Town on a free transfer in the summer of 2008, having deemed the 36-year-old surplus to requirements. Lucketti penned a two-year contract with the Terriers.
“At his age it was a too good an opportunity to turn down,” Blackwell said at the time. “Plus they were guaranteeing him first-team football. Chris has been a great servant to the club.”
United, meanwhile, have confirmed three pre-season friendlies. They will travel to Nigel Clough’s former club Burton Albion on Saturday, July 19. Four days later, United head to Chris Wilder’s Northampton Town. Clough’s men welcome Huddersfield Town to Tuesday, July 29, kick-off 7.45pm.