Having seen the rest of the Championship in action this weekend, Sheffield United will take to the pitch on Monday evening to round out the opening matchday of the 2022-23 season when they take on Watford at Vicarage Road.
It has only been just over two months since the Blades suffered heartbreak and disappointed in the play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest, but they have added fresh faces to their squad ahead of the new campaign.
They face a tough task though in their curtain raiser, with Watford still boasting some heavyweight options from their Premier League relegation – the likes of Ismaila Sarr and Emmanuel Dennis are set to pose a real threat to the United back-line.
Quiz: Can you remember the score the last time Sheffield United played at these 26 stadiums?
What dilemmas does Blades head coach Paul Heckingbottom have though ahead of the trip to Hertfordshire? Let’s take a look.
Who starts at left wing-back?
Going into this season, Heckingbottom has three very credible left wing-back options to choose from, with everyone getting a chance in pre-season.
Enda Stevens and Rhys Norrington-Davies – both internationally-capped players – battled for the spot last season, with Ben Osborn also filling in on occasion.
Now though, Max Lowe has been added back into the mix following the end of his successful loan spell with Nottingham Forest – the Tricky Trees haven’t made an acceptable offer to make it a permanent deal so for now, he remains in contention to play.
It’s certainly going to be hard for Heckingbottom to choose one of those to start against the Hornets, and surely by the end of the transfer window at least one will have moved on, with competition for a place in the starting 11 very stiff indeed.
Khadra to start?
Heckingbottom’s favoured formation is a 3-4-1-2, so for natural winger Reda Khadra, it is going to be another season of adapting to a different role.
The diminutive German has arrived from Brighton & Hove Albion on a season-long loan, having spent the previous campaign at Blackburn Rovers.
At Ewood Park, Khadra played through the middle a lot, whether that was as a striker or attacking midfield, and up-front is a position that United are lacking in right now.
Rhian Brewster is the only senior fully-fit option, whilst Billy Sharp will probably be on the bench.
Iliman Ndiaye – just like Khadra – can play up top but isn’t a natural centre-forward, so the decision for Heckingbottom is a simple one: Does Khadra take a position from the start next to Brewster or does he get unleashed off the bench in the second half?