A 1:1 draw away at fellow promotion hopefuls Cardiff City at the weekend was more than satisfying from a Blades perspective. After losing a man, United battled hard for a point to get off the mark in the 2010/2011 npower Championship campaign. Three days later, Hartlepool United provide the second away test in the space of four days in a different competition, a competition which United got to the Semi-Finals in in 2003.
The Blades head north for a tricky cup tie against Hartlepool United, hoping not follow the likes of Barnsley, Doncaster Rovers and Nottingham Forest out of the competition. The trio were all on the end of a shock last night (Tuesday) when Rochdale, Accrington Stanley and Bradford got the better of them respectively.
United were dumped out of the League Cup at this stage last season by Port Vale, who incidentally beat our opponents on Saturday, Queens Park Rangers. Vale were victorious over Neil Warnock's men 1:3 and booked their place in the Second Round.
Matt Lowton will be unavailable tonight due to suspension. Stephen Jordan, Nyron Nosworthy Darius Henderson, Lee Williamson and Ryan France won't feature because of injury. Kyle Bartley is to be assessed before the game to see whether he's fit enough to play a part.
Ched Evans, Daniel Bogdanovic and Mihkel Aksalu are all on international duty for Wales, Malta and Estonia respectively, but youngsters Jordan Chappell and Kingsley James will probably be involved. Probable Blades line-up:
Simonsen, Kozluk, Morgan, Ertl, Taylor, Ward, Montgomery, Quinn, Yeates, Cresswell, Chappell.
Hartlepool survived relegation by the skin of their teeth last season. They stayed in League One by goal difference, with Southend being the unfortunate side to suffer the drop to League Two. Pools enter the game after drawing the first game of their season too. They were involved in a 0:0 stalemate at newly promoted Rochdale. Gary Liddle is available for selection for Chris Turner's men aftering serving his suspension. Neil Austin and Ritchie Humphreys are ruled out through injury, though. Probable Pools line-up:
Flinders, Haslam, Collins, Liddle, Horwood, Sweeney, Gamble, Murray, Monkhouse, Brown, Bjornsson.