Sheffield United have a good enough squad. There’s no reason why they can’t go to Wembley believing they can finish the job. Okay, there’s been a bit of despondency among the fans. I didn’t realise until somebody told me that the crowd was as low as 21,000 for the Stevenage second leg. I suppose some supporters have got to thinking the final will be like the last few the club have played.
But I’m optimistic and I think the Blades can take heart from one of my former clubs, West Ham. They also finished third in their league, which is supposed to be the position where teams lose out, but still won promotion from the Championship.
The one thing that does worry me is the lack of an out-and-out goalscorer. Jordan Rhodes has scored 40 for Huddersfield and will go into the final with a lot of confidence. Rightly so. But there has to be a weakness in Huddersfield, otherwise they’d have made the top two with a marksman like Jordan. It tells you they ship goals and that’s where United have got to take advantage.
First, United will have to shut Rhodes out and I’m sure Danny Wilson will have been looking at how to do that. It’s as much about cutting out the supply as marking him. That might be a reason why Danny goes 4-5-1 again as he did against Stevenage.
That way, you should be able to control the game from midfield. And the system is flexible because it can quickly become 4-3-3.
In that respect, United need runners from midfield to step up and take the responsibility for scoring.
I hope Kevin McDonald, pictured left, is able to play because from what I’ve seen he’s an excellent playmaker and would be a big loss. It’s a big call on him because hamstring injuries can be very dodgy if they’re not fully healed. The gamble is that a hamstring can go again in the 1st minute or the 90th, you never know.
There’s been talk of United being more direct if necessary, which is difficult if you’re changing the mindset you’ve had all season. In the games I’ve seen they’ve played football from front to back. The longer ball means you have to get people to commit to getting forward into the final third.
But the bottom line for me is that United finished above Huddersfield and I’m confident they can do what’s needed.
@deanobri1968 was talking to @AlanBiggs1. Follow them both on Twitter - and wait with baited breath to see Deano’s round-up on the Blades season in next week’s Telegraph