SHEFFIELD UNITED: Head to head: The central midfield men

United v Town: Kevin McDonald
United v Town: Kevin McDonald

TWO former internationals, a Scot and an ex-Sheffield Wednesday player are braced to do battle in central midfield.

Damien Johnson and Michael Doyle, capped by Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland respectively, will keep things ticking over in the middle of the park.

While Johnson and Doyle will sit, looking to break up opposition attacks and give added protection to the back four, Tommy Miller and Kevin McDonald boast the flair and imagination to unlock defences.

Johnson, on a season-long loan deal from Plymouth Argyle, knows his limitations. The 33-year-old does not try to do anything outside of his comfort zone in possession. He is vastly experienced, having represented Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City in the Premier League, and is acutely aware this could be the last time he gets an opportunity to play at the national stadium in his career.

Johnson’s partner in crime needs no introduction to Blades fans. Miller, who swapped Hillsborough for the Galpharm Stadium last summer, is a neat and tidy passer and has the ability to dictate the tempo of games. This is the first time in five attempts Miller, aged 33, has made it through to the final of the play-offs after near misses with Hartlepool United and Ipswich Town.

In Johnson and Miller, the Terriers have two old heads. But United have a combination which few clubs can match at this level. McDonald and Doyle have blossomed as a pairing together. One is left-footed, the other right. One likes to tackle, the other enjoys spreading the play from side to side. It would be a huge blow to Danny Wilson and his final plans if McDonald is ruled out with a hamstring problem. Nick Montgomery is the leading contender to step in for McDonald.

There is little to choose between the two teams in this department. I believe United just have upper hand. Doyle, McDonald and Johnson are rated eight out of 10 but Miller receives seven.