Sports Mole previews Thursday’s EFL Cup second round tie between Sheffield United and Burnley, including team news and injury news.
Burnley get their 2020-21 campaign underway on Thursday night with an EFL Cup second round tie against fellow Premier League side Sheffield United.
While the Clarets are having to wait to return to top-flight action, their opponents suffered a 2-0 defeat versus Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this week.
When Sheffield United went two goals behind against Wolves within the opening six minutes, Chris Wilder would have feared the worst for the remainder of the game.
However, despite ultimately losing out to one of their direct rivals, his side showed enough during the closing hour of the game to suggest that their start to the fixture was a minor blip.
Although Wilder will have few concerns regarding words such as ‘second season syndrome’ being bandied about, he will want his much-jigged side on Thursday to lay down a marker to his established stars.
The only fresh face which appeared on Monday evening was goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, leaving the likes of Jayden Bogle and Ethan Ampadu with windows of opportunity to stake their claim for a spot in the club’s next Premier League fixture.
While the majority of top-flight sides will make sweeping changes to their starting lineup this week, that may not apply to Burnley who have had to wait to play their first competitive fixture of the season.
Despite losing Jeff Hendrick on a free transfer, Sean Dyche is yet to add a new outfield player to his squad, and it leaves the rest of his close-knit group to carry the workload over the coming weeks.
Nevertheless, that may be a scenario which sits well with Dyche, who may be tasked with blooding some younger players when the club is struggling with the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic.
Encouragingly for the Clarets, they have enjoyed some excellent results during pre-season, a period which has included a 4-1 win over Hearts and a 3-0 triumph over Portuguese outfit Maritimo.
Burnley form (pre-season friendlies): DWW
Sheffield United form (all competitions): L
Dyche has revealed that Ben Mee, Jack Cork and Ashley Barnes will all be sidelined for Thursday’s fixture.
With his squad reduced to 15 first-team outfield players, his lineup could mirror the one which began the last match against Maritimo.
As far as the Blades are concerned, Wes Foderingham, Ampadu, Bogle, Max Lowe and Oliver Burke are all expected to make their debuts.
Phil Jagielka, Ben Osborn and David McGoldrick should all get the nod in their respective positions.
Burnley possible starting lineup:
Pope; Bardsley, Long, Tarkowski, Taylor; Gudmundsson, Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Rodriguez, Wood
Sheffield United possible starting lineup:
Foderingham; Basham, Ampadu, Jagielka; Bogle, Berge, Norwood, Osborn, Lowe; McGoldrick, Burke
We say: Burnley 2-1 Sheffield United
While Dyche will want his players to improve their match fitness, Wilder will likely take the opportunity to rotate. Although a competitive game should take place at Turf Moor, the Clarets are justifiably the favourites to come through.
Top betting tip
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:curl
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