Sheffield United v West Brom, Saturday, 5pm, Sky Sports 1
Sheffield United did not have the best pre-season in terms of setting their stall out for the season and that was mainly to do with the court action against West Ham.
This distracted the club quite a bit as at one stage I, like everybody else, heard rumours that they were going to be reinstated into the Premier League and the club felt that they had sufficient evidence to prove their case, but as we know it didn't happen.
That must have affected Bryan Robson's preparation for the new season as he wouldn't have known what players to buy as he wasn't certain what league they would be playing in. Was he buying players for the Premier League or to get them out of the Championship?
They haven't made a great start to the season, being held at home to Colchester United and then losing to Watford but we are only two games into the season. Of the new faces in the squad, Billy Sharp hasn't got himself going yet and it will be interesting to see how he adapts to the Championship. I believe he will be top-drawer, he just needs to settle in.
At this moment in time there's still a feeling that they have been cheated and when they can get that out of their heads they can just concentrate on getting themselves back to the Premier League.
If Sharp and James Beattie can start scoring goals and get a good partnership going then Sheffield United will definitely be in there as front-runners.
Robbo will still be scouting around looking for players to bolster the squad - he has been linked with Stelios at Bolton recently - it's unfortunate that another of his signings, Lee Hendrie has picked up an injury and will be out for up to eight weeks. They sold Claude Davis for £3million and I think Bryan probably allowed that to happen as he maybe didn't fancy Claude as much as Neil Warnock did. But he couldn't do anything about losing Phil Jagielka because he had a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave if the Blades got relegated.
There's still time between now and the end of the transfer window to get some business done if the chairman, Kevin McCabe thinks they will get compensation, either from the Premier League or West Ham, then maybe that will be used to strengthen the squad.
At this moment in time there's still a feeling that they have been cheated and when they can get that out of their heads, and get this latest court case sorted, where they are suing West Ham for compensation, then they can just concentrate on getting themselves back to the Premier League.
Having got West Brom promoted to the Premier League in 2004 and kept them up on the last day in 2005 Robson has the experience required to gain promotion.
If Robbo was to lose against his old club on Saturday, the pressure will really be on. Every manager is only as good as his last game now which is ridiculous, but I'm sure if that happens Kevin McCabe and Bryan Robson won't be panicking.
Finally, Sheffield United badly missed Rob Hulse at the back-end of last season as he was the reason why they kept their hopes of survival alive right until the final day. He suffered a horrible injury after an innocuous challenge which was just one of those things but terrible luck on Hulse. That seems to have been overshadowed by the whole Carlos Tevez affair but hopefully he will come back in the New Year and help the Blades' promotion push.
Kammy answers your email...
Hi Chris, I am a Watford fan and am very happy with how we have started the season. Obviously we are only two games in and it is easy to get carried away, however Molineux is one of the hardest grounds to pick up a point let alone all three, and our youth/reserves beat Gillingham very convincingly on Tuesday night. I am very optimistic about our chances this season and was wondering if you think we can keep up this good form and make an immediate return to the Premiership? Michael Thomas
Kammy says: They have made a flying start to the season and at this moment in time you wouldn't bet against them. Aidy will have his feet on the ground and realise that it's only a start but the way they have started has been impressive. I'm sure Aidy would have been happy with four points from the opening two fixtures against Wolves and Sheffield United so it has been a fabulous beginning to the season. I certainly don't see them dropping out of the top six from now until the end of the season. The return to fitness of Marlon King is a massive bonus - it's almost like a new signing.
Hi Chris, I'm a Blackpool fan and I was wondering what you thought our chances are this season. We won 12 games in a row before the draw with Bristol City and are looking good at the moment, I know this can all change very quickly though. With players like Wes Hoolahan and Keigan Parker do you think we can survive or maybe even push up the league this year?David, Blackpool
Kammy says: David, I was disappointed that they lost their fabulous record but at least they didn't lose the game. It's a record that will take some beating. They've showed already that they will cope with the Championship well. I'm not sure how well they will do, because I'm not sure they have the strength in depth but they wont go down this season, that's certain.
Chris, I have been watching the MK Dons in pre-season and again now with the start of the season and am wondering how we can perform so well against Ipswich in the cup, Watford and a strong West Ham in pre-season but when faced with Bury and Macclesfield struggle to get a point? It feels a big season for the club with a new high profile manager, new stadium and losing our two top scorers for good money. Do you rate our chances with Paul Ince as highly as you did with Martin Allen? Regards, Tony Clegg
Kammy says: Pre-season can be a funny time. When I was at Stoke we battered everyone in pre-season, we beat Everton and toured Scandinavia and won all of our games there. We came back for the start of the season and thought that we would get promotion, but we really struggled. You can have too good a pre-season at times and peak before the start of the season. The MK Dons have a new team, with a new manager. Paul Ince lost the two top scorers in Clive Platt and Izale McLeod and he will have to try to fill those gaps which wont be an easy task. I feel sorry for Paul as he would have been happy to keep both of those players because you know what you're going to get from them and they almost guaranteed goals. But Ince needs time to settle down and get his feet under the table and let the new players get used to him.
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Andy Smith (West Ham United fan) says...
When are Sheff Utd going to shut up? They were NOT cheated - they just weren't good enough!! If anyone cheated They did with their agreement with Watford which may well have earned them 3 extra points without which they'd have been relegated before the last day. There was never any doubt about Tevez being registered to play for WHU. The furore was all about a clause which allowed KJ to sell him from under WHU's nose without notice. If they have any complaints they should be directed at Liverpool who gifted Fulham 3 points with their severely weakened team who then didn't really try. If justice had truly been served then Fulham would have been relegated. They were the ones who really deserved it, they were awful.
Posted 13:04 29th August 2007
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