DANNY Wilson has warned Stevenage will pose a very different challenge to the one Sheffield United encountered during last season’s League One play-offs.
Six months after Chris Porter’s late strike propelled Wilson’s side to Wembley at the visitors’ expense, Gary Smith brings his new-look squad to Bramall Lane intent on revenge.
But Wilson, who was yesterday named League One Manager of the Month for October, said: “They’ve changed the way that they play but they’ve maintained the same consistency.
“People know how hard Stevenage work but they’re now a little bit more subtle with regards to their approach.
“They’ve got some very good footballers there and they can always mix things up.
“Stevenage will come to us on the back of a very confident run but we are at home and I always fancy us at home.”
Smith, the former Colchester and Wycombe Wanderers midfielder, embarked on a radical overhaul of Stevenage’s playing staff soon after May’s semi-final double-header with the likes of Greg Tansey, Marcus Haber and Filipe Morais among those arriving at the Lamex Stadium.
Wilson, whose team prepared for this afternoon’s fixture second in the table, used Thursday’s pre-match at Shirecliffe to confirm Tony McMahon and Matt Hill could both miss out with hamstring complaints.
With striker Dave Kitson and goalkeeper Mark Howard also nursing injuries, United’s squad could be stretched still further if leading scorer Nick Blackman collects his fifth caution of the campaign ahead of next week’s fixture against Crewe Alexandra.
However, former Middlesbrough and Wales veteran Danny Coyne has signed a short-term deal to provide cover for George Long.
Wilson added: “Stevenage have galvanised season upon season and they’ve had a terrific rise through the football pyramid.
“But the emphasis is on us and we can be positive.
“We’ve been working on certain things where we believe we can hurt them.”
Did you know: Gary Smith cut his managerial teeth in the America. Together with assistant Steve Guppy, he led Colorado Rapids to Major League Cup Cup success in 2010.