Preview: Sheffield United v Swans

4th August 2018
First team

Swansea City will look to make the perfect start to life under Graham Potter when they take on Sheffield United this afternoon (5.30pm).

The Swans play their first second-tier game in seven years following relegation from the Premier League in May.

And coincidentally, they come up against the same opponents they faced in their last regular-season game at this level.

That day, Leon Britton was among the scorers as the Swans triumphed 4-0, and later that month Brendan Rodgers’s team were promoted to the top flight.

With Britton retired and Angel Rangel gone over the summer, Nathan Dyer is the one man who played in the Swans’ last game against the Blades who could feature once more today.

There could be a handful of Swans debutants on display, while Potter will lead a new-look management team in the dugout.

The former Ostersund manager has targeted a positive start to his Liberty reign, but the Swans know nothing will come easy against Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United side.

Having romped to the League One title in 2016-17, the Yorkshire club pushed for the Championship play-offs last season before eventually finishing 10th.

With Wilder demanding more progress this season, the Swans can expect a stern test as they return to the Football League.

 

TEAM NEWS

Sheffield United could hand debuts to a number of new recruits, including record-signing John Egan.

The Blades have also added young midfielder Kean Bryan and experienced striker David McGoldrick to their ranks this summer, and completed loan deals for keeper Dean Henderson and Wales winger Ben Woodburn.

Leroy Fer and Wilfried Bony remain on the injured list, but Martin Olsson could play some part having returned to training this week following his post-World Cup break.

Joel Asoro, Bersant Celina, Barrie McKay and Yan Dhanda could make competitive Swans debuts.

 

PRE-MATCH VERDICTS

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder: “It's tough start against Swansea and then with games at Middlesbrough and QPR, but we want to improve on last year.”

Graham Potter: “We understand how difficult the game against Sheffield United is going to be. It’s the opening day away from home against a club who did really well last year. But we need to be ready. It’s our first step as a team and we hope it will be a positive one.”

Oli McBurnie:Sheffield United away is a tough game first up, but we’re live on TV and we want to show what we are capable of.”

 

REMEMBER THE LAST TIME?

The Swans last went to Bramall Lane back in December 2010, and they were beaten by a solitary goal from Ched Evans.

Scott Sinclair came closest to finding a response on a frustrating day for Brendan Rodgers’s team.

The Swans had much more joy in the return fixture later that season, with Sinclair, Stephen Dobbie (two) and Leon Britton on target in a 4-0 win.

 

PRIME NUMBERS

5 – Five of the last six Swans managers have won their first game in charge, with Bob Bradley the only exception.

13 – Sheffield United are unbeaten in each of their last 13 home league matches against the Swans since losing 2-1 back in March 1939. The Swans did register a memorable FA Cup triumph at Bramall Lane in 2007, though.