Michael Higdon and Jamie Murphy are expected to return for Sheffield United when they visit Preston North End tomorrow, writes James Shield.
Nigel Clough, the United manager, omitted both from his starting eleven at West Ham in midweek but, speaking after that Capital One Cup success, indicated they will be handed prominent roles against Simon Grayson’s side.
“Another positive of winning down there,” Clough, reflecting upon United’s win at the Boleyn Ground, said, “Was the fact we were able to do that and yet still keep some of the lads fresh.
“It’s going to be a long, hard season and everyone is going to have to play a part in that. We might make a couple of changes (for Preston) but, then again, some of the lads who came in for the last match have done themselves absolutely no harm at all.”
With United, who travel to Deepdale searching for a third straight League One success after dispatching Peterborough and Crawley Town en route to London, forced to postpone next month’s meeting with MK Dons because of international call-ups, midfielder James Wallace could also be poised to make his second appearance since arriving from Tranmere Rovers earlier this summer. The midfielder made his United debut as a substitute during the second round tie after recovering from a groin complaint.
“We’ll always err on the side of caution in situations like this,” Clough said. “Because there’s nothing to be gained from losing people so early on. But if James feels okay then we could look to get him involved.
“It’s a case of managing the situation at times like this. We don’t want to rush people, ask too much of them and then lose them for a longer period because that makes no sense.”
Preston, nine places above United in the table after climbing to third courtesy of a 1-0 win over Oldham Athletic last weekend, expect to include Paul Gallagher, who spent a brief spell on loan at Bramall Lane two years ago, in their squad while centre-forward Joe Garner should also take part.