Sheffield United vs. Notts County

Last updated : 02 August 2013 By @blades_mad1889

The 2013/14 season marks 125 years since the formation of the Football League and this fixture, owing to Bramall Lane being the oldest professional ground in the world and Meadow Lane being the oldest Football League ground in the country (and County being a founder member) has been selected alongside Preston’s home game with Wolves as a celebration for this historic event.

Sheffield United have been busy in the summer, appointing a new manger in the form of former Everton and Rangers defender David Weir who has been quick to add to his squad before the seasons start and has acquired six new players; Febian Brandy (Walsall), Sean McGinty (Manchester United), Stephen McGinn (Watford), Jasper Johns (Everton), Lyle Taylor (Falkirk, £250,000) and a 6 month loan deal for Conor Coady (Liverpool) who most, if not all, will play some part against the Magpies tonight.

United have too seen some exits; Dave Kitson (Oxford United), Barry Robson (Aberdeen), Jordan Chapell (Torquay United) and Richard Cresswell (York City) have all moved onto other clubs whilst Matty Harriott, Lescinel Jean-Francois and keeper Danny Coyne have all been released.

Once again the Blades have endured a ‘good’ pre-season, embarking on a ‘Tour of Scotland’ before returning to face local fixtures away from home. North of the border they won games against Greenock Morton (1-0) and Raith Rovers (2-1) whilst drawing at Cowdenbeath (1-1).

Back in England they continued with victories over Bury (3-1), Mansfield Town (1-0), Alfreton Town (1-0), before drawing with Greek side Atromitos (2-2) at the Lane and at York City (1-1) before the start of the season.

Boss Weir will be without Tony McMahon because of an ankle injury he sustained in United's pre-season programme. Shaun Miller (cruciate ligament damage) and Diego De Girolamo (knee) are both sidelined through injury too. Meanwhile Norwegian striker Erik Tonne is currently on loan at homeland HamKam.

Weir is likely to field midfielder Kevin McDonald and striker Fabian Brandy to face their former clubs. McDonald joined the Meadow Lane  outfit on loan from Burnley in February 2011 until the end of the season - making his debut in a 2-0 home defeat to Exeter City and went onto make 10 (+1) appearances for the Magpies.

Brandy joined the Magpies around the same time as McDonald, signing in a free transfer from Manchester United in February 2011 and making his debut a week later in a 1-0 home defeat to Peterborough United and failed to score where he was released at the end of the season having made 5 league starts and 4 substitute appearances before moving to Greek side Panetolikos.

Notts County too have had a busy pre-season, they also appointed a new manger in former Ipswich striker Chris Kiwomya following the dismissal of Keith Curle last season. He too was busy in the transfer market and has drafted in Danny Haynes (Charlton Athletic), Malcolm Melvin (Aston Villa), Andy Haworth (Rochdale), Mark Fotheringham (unattached), David Bell (Coventry City), Mustapha Dumbuya (Crawley Town) and Adam Coombes (Chelsea) all on free transfers.

Meanwhile they have also allowed a number of players to leave with Alan Judge, a free transfer to Blackburn Rovers the biggest loss in their team. Jeff Hughes (Fleetwood Town) has also left on a free transfer whist Liam Mitchell, Krystian Pearce, Neal Bishop, Gavin Mahon, Jake Wholey, Hamza Bencherif and Julian Kelly have all been released following the end of their contracts.

Chris Kiwomya has no injury concerns ahead of tonight's showdown at Bramall Lane.

In pre-season the Magpies lost 2-0 to Steau Bucharest at the FA’s St. Georges Park training ground, whilst they beat Palloseura Kemi Kings (3-1), Tervarit Dream Team (4-1) and JJK Jyvasky (2-0) on a tour of Finland before being defeated 2-1 by Turkish side Galatasary and drawing home ties with Spanish side Rayo Vallecano (2-2) and Ipswich Town (3-3).

Blades-Mad Prediction: Sheffield United 1-0 Notts County