Sheffield United: Blades hoping for tough Greek test

Febian Brandy and Tony McMahon model next season's new strip
Febian Brandy and Tony McMahon model next season's new strip

Far from planning a stroll in the evening sunshine, David Weir hopes his team are placed under the cosh during tonight’s friendly with Atromitos FC at Bramall Lane, writes James Shield.

Indeed, the Sheffield United manager highlighted the visitors’ European pedigree as a major factor behind the decision to invite them to South Yorkshire.

“We’ll learn a lot about ourselves because they’ll put us under pressure,” Weir told The Star. “And that’s exactly what we want.

“It’s important to know what you are doing when you are the back foot as well as the front. They should give us a real test.”

“We wanted the lads, especially the new ones, to have experienced a game at our stadium before the competitive action as it were starts.

“But that’s not the only reason for scheduling this game.”

Atromitos, who finished 4th in the Greek Superleague last term, were beaten 2-1 by Wigan Athletic earlier this week. But Georgios Paraschos’s side acquitted themselves well with Anastasios Karamanos scoring the visitors’ consolation after Marc-Antoine Fortune and Jordi Gomez pounced for the hosts.

Although Weir, whose side complete their preparations for the new League One campaign at York City tomorrow, is keen to avoid any injuries, the former Scotland international will not be distraught to discover that Theo Papoutsogiannopoulos, Elin Dimoutsis and Panagiatis Ballos were all cautioned for robust challenges during Monday’s encounter at Sports Village, Leigh.

United enter the contest still unbeaten under Weir’s tutelage having overcome Mansfield Town last weekend.

Ryan Flynn and Tony McMahon could feature against Atromitos, who will attempt to reach the Europa League group stages later this summer, having reported no ill-effects following their recent outings at Alfreton Town.

“We’ll look to mix-up the personnel,” Weir said. “Make sure that everyone is given ‘a go.’

“These are both important games for us.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1