Sheffield United: This might convince Chris Wilder to ring the changes when his team returns to action at Derby County

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder

Not for the first time this season, Sheffield United have cause to curse FIFA's fixture planners and their scheduling of international breaks.

September's round of games halted a four game winning streak. Chris Wilder's side, after matching that run by winning an arm-wrestle with Hull City, entered this month's with momentum behind them and the rest of the Championship trailing in their wake.

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By rights, that should persuade United's manager to name an unchanged starting eleven when they return to action on Saturday evening. But, after analysing events following his team's last weekend off, Wilder could be persuaded to make changes at Derby County. Particularly, he suggested, after studying United's defeat by Bristol City 31 days ago.

"We've taken a look at how things went down there and tried to learn from it," Wilder said. "Is there anything we could have done better? Is there something we should have done differently to try and bring about a different result, the result we probably deserved, after the last break?"

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Far from being a car crash of a performance, United actually impressed at Ashton Gate; creating a number of opportunities before succumbing to a combination of their own profligacy and Marley Watkins' 81st minute strike. Energy levels, specifically his players' ability to maintain them throughout the contest, was one area of concern for Wilder following that trip to the south-west. With Paul Coutts now fully recovered from long-term injury, United could chose to hand the Scot a first start since November against his former club. Particularly if Coutts' fellow midfielder Oliver Norwood, who has travelled to Vienna and Sarajevo, is still recovering from those trips. The Northern Ireland star has travelled eight times further than any other member of Wilder's squad following the meeting with City.

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"We've put together a good run, now the challenge is to try and keep it going," Wilder said ahead of the visit to Pride Park. "Everybody here is learning all the time, every single one of us, because we want to improve everything we do."