Sheffield United: No favours from Chris

Callum McFadzean demonstrates his fighting spirit against Leyton Orient earlier this season
Callum McFadzean demonstrates his fighting spirit against Leyton Orient earlier this season

Chris Morgan has revealed he could spring some selection surprises for Friday’s League One play-off semi-final against Yeovil Town, writes James Shield.

The Sheffield United manager, whose team travel to Huish Park for the second instalment of their double-header with Gary Johnson’s side next week, made the admission after claiming performance, not personality, will influence his picks.

Insisting youngsters such as Callum McFadzean, Joe Ironside and Elliott Whitehouse are equipped to handle the pressure of a promotion push, Morgan said: “We want the lads here to make it as difficult as possible to name a starting eleven. We want them all to be pushing for a place in the team and ready to take their chance.

“We’ll send out the squad we think is the best one to win this particular game. Different games throw-up different challenges and we are prepared to react to that.

“When I came in to the job, one of the first things I told everyone was that they all had roles to play and are all important to what we are trying to do. They’re all involved in trying to get us to where we want to be.”

Morgan, who took charge last month, added: “We’ve got a youthful element here and a good hungry group of young players.

“For me, we’ve got a really good mix of that and experience. I’ve worked with all of these lads for the under-21’s and I know what they’re made of.

“That’s why I’ve never shied away from getting them out there and giving them important roles.”

Morgan’s hint about the make-up of his starting eleven marks the latest phase in the psychological war surrounding this week’s first-leg at Bramall Lane.

Although the 35-year-old’s primary focus is ensuring that United fulfil their own potential, coaching staff will also analyse intelligence from the opposition camp before deciding who is deployed against the visitors from Somerset.

Yeovil have based themselves at St George’s Park, the national football centre, ahead of their trip to South Yorkshire.

Negotiations aimed at extending Johnson’s contract, which expires later this summer, began before that temporary training camp was established.

However, with attacker Sam Foley and midfielder Kevin Dawson also set to be offered fresh terms, the former Bristol City chief said: “We haven’t got time to read sheets of contracts right now. We thank them for the thought of putting it in front of us and of course at the right time we will properly look at it and decide what we do.

“At the moment we are all 100 per cent behind Yeovil Town, that’s important, and then we will work out what happens next. It would be fantastic to take the club into the Championship.”

“We are all comfortable with the situation going into these big games,” Johnson added.

Morgan, whose side travel to Yeovil on Monday, said: “The key to everything is making sure we perform.”

*Twitter: JamesShield1