Rob Edwards will have a lot on his mind heading into Watford‘s first game of the Championship season at home to Sheffield United.
The Hornets have endured something of a turbulent pre-season with interest unsurprisingly arising around some of their key players, and the former Forest Green Rovers manager has had an enormous group to pass judgment on.
The Blades are tricky opponents to begin the season, producing an excellent second half to last season to finish in the play-offs under Paul Heckingbottom.
Key man from last term Morgan Gibbs-White has returned to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Iliman Ndiaye and Rhian Brewster could potentially a likely duo to start at Vicarage Road, with teenage strikers Daniel Jebbison and Will Osula providing competition for places.
Here, we have taken a look at two dilemmas facing Edwards ahead of the Blades’ visit…
Francisco Sierralta or William Troost-Ekong
It seems like only one of the centre back duo that worked so well for Xisco Munoz in the second half of 2020/21 will start the game, with Craig Cathcart and Christian Kabasele earning more minutes in recent pre-season outings.
Edwards is likely to deploy a back three formation for the entirety of the season at Watford, and therefore both players should receive plenty of minutes.
Sierralta is arguably more comfortable in possession and that could see him edge ahead of Troost-Ekong in Edwards’ thinking, but it is a conundrum that could go either way come Monday evening.
Quiz: Can you remember the score the last time Watford played at these 26 stadiums?
Tom Dele-Bashiru or Tom Cleverley
Cleverley has not been involved as much as he would have liked for the Hornets in pre-season, casting a cloud of doubt over his position in the starting XI for the opening game.
Dele-Bashiru showed flashes of brilliance in a loan spell at Reading last term and his mobility could make him an important player under Edwards.
With a responsibility on midfielders to get forward and link play between the lines and the Hornets’ front two, Cleverley has the experience, but Dele-Bashiru probably offers a more potent attacking threat.
Edwards does not lack choice and it will be interesting to see who he favours over the course of the season.