The international break is over, and Peterborough United are back in action this weekend as they travel to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United in the Sky Bet Championship.
A two-week break came at the perfect time for Posh, with the main focus of rebuilding match fitness after significant injuries within the squad ahead of another busy month in the league, starting later today.
Posh supporters have gradually got over the heartbreak from the last Championship fixture before the international break, conceding a 90+4th min goal against West Brom to lose 1-0 after a spirited performance at Weston Homes Stadium.
However, Darren Ferguson’s men can seek revenge this Saturday against another recently-relegated Premier League side, Sheffield United (KO 3pm).
Team News and Predicted Line-up
Posh remain without captain Mark Beevers (hamstring) and teenage striker Ricky Jade-Jones (knee). Jack Taylor returned to the matchday squad against West Brom and came on as a substitute at half-time, who will be pushing for a start on Saturday.
Fellow countrymen Conor Coventry could also be in contention to make his debut at Bramall Lane after signing on a season-long loan from West Ham United on deadline day.
Ferguson opted for a three-at-the-back against West Brom, with Dan Butler playing on the left of the back-three, and would be seen whether the full-back remains there or is replaced by defender Josh Knight.
Predicted Line-up: Pym; Ward, Thompson, Kent, Knight, Butler; Norburn, Taylor, Grant; Clarke-Harris and Dembele
Posh will play against one of three relegated Premier League sides for a second consecutive matchday weekend, travelling to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United, who finished bottom of the pile in the top division last season.
The Blades were one of the favourites to challenge for promotion back to Premier League this season, but it has been a difficult start to Slavisa Jokanovic’s journey so far, who was appointed as Chris Wilder's successor in the summer. They have yet to win a game in the opening five fixtures, picking up only two points and currently sit second from bottom.
However, Sheffield United strengthened on deadline day, including Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Morgan Gibbs-White and Liverpool’s Ben Davies.
Despite a difficult start to the season, Ferguson expects a tough afternoon, especially in front of a large crowd, and wants his players to perform from the minute go.
He said in his press conference: “Sheffield United managed to bring a few more bodies into the squad ahead of the window and they have an abundance of options, particularly in central midfield.
“It is a wonderful arena to play your football in, it will be a good crowd with a large travelling support from us so we know what to expect and we know that we have to perform better than we did against Luton and for the first half against Preston North End,”
You would have to search back five years since these two sides last met at Bramall Lane, which saw both teams fighting for promotion from League One to the Championship.
However, the Blades took the bragging rights in September of 2016 after a Matty Done strike in the 13th minute separated the two sides.
Posh had numerous attempts to find an equaliser as Paul Taylor, Chris Forrester, and Leonardo Da Silva Lopes forced United’s keeper into routine saves, but just couldn’t find the breakthrough.
Despite a shaky record against Sheffield United, just three wins in 16 fixtures, Posh have enjoyed recent success at Bramall Lane, winning two of the last three games held in Sheffield.
Last five meetings
Posh 0-1 Sheffield United – Feb 2017
Sheffield United 1-0 Posh – Sep 2016
Sheffield United 2-3 Posh – Jan 2016
Posh 1-3 Sheffield United – Aug 2015
Sheffield United 1-2 Posh – Mar 2015
Two teams that could do with a win, but Sheffield United's need is probably greater. However, Posh will be looking to capitalise against one of the worst defences in the league, and one surely short of confidence
Blades 1-1 Posh