Season Preview - Sheffield United
Following a great season in League One, Sheffield United finished top and gained promotion back to the Championship.
We spoke to Martin from S24SU about his thoughts for the upcoming season.
"Very happy following a great season and promotion last time around, I'm interested to see how we'll fare back in the Championship and it'll be nice to have a change of scenery" he said.
"It's not so long since we were moaning at knocking around the top ten of the Championship, but it does seem a completely different league following our spell in League One. There's a lot more money swilling around and some good players in the league, but having said that, I wasn't overly impressed with the quality of most Championship football I watched last season."
"For the first time in a while, we seem to be united as a club and with Chris Wilder in charge, one thing we'll always get as a bare minimum is hard work and passion. Handily, we've combined that with some quality and an eagerness to attack sides."
When asked which position he thinks Sheffield United will finish, Martin said "it's always hard to say after a promotion, we're on a high and it's quite some time since we last lost a first team fixture, that will change and it'll be interesting to see how we react to that first negative result."
"I think it also depends on recruitment, for example, our first choice keeper Simon Moore was carried off injured in a friendly fixture recently, leaving us with only a very capable, but young lad in Jake Eastwood - highlighting a need for additional strength in depth. I'd like to think we'd surprise a few sides, as we are very different animal under Chris Wilder..."
"We've got to look to ride the crest of a wave of positivity and aim as high as possible - which I've no doubt we'll be doing, but realistically I'd be happy to take a season of consolidation and a mid-table finish for our first back in the division."
Speaking about which players will be key for United, he added that "the spine of the team will be key."
"We've brought Richard Stearman in to add some experience at centre-back alongside the impressive (but still developing) Jack O'Connell, the midfield trio of Paul Coutts, Mark Duffy and John Fleck had a fantastic season last time out - they are more than capable, but will be interesting to see how they make the step up."
"Up front, Billy Sharp has scored goals everywhere and looks as fit as ever, if we create him chances, he'll put them away, but I think we could do with adding some pace."
"Ched Evans is forced to get some headlines, but I'd imagine his playing time this season will be restricted, with having hardly played professional football for so long, he's forced to have fitness issues and niggling injuries as he looks to get his career back on track."
"We've made some sensible signings and brought in players with something to prove, on an upward trajectory and with the right attitude, this should blend well with a core of a team that looked far too good for League One."
"The 'one to watch' will be exciting youngster David Brooks, who has had a good pre-season and looks set to force himself into contention."
"One obvious feature of our side is that whilst we have talented individuals, the team are close knit and work hard for each other, perhaps this will be key to the season, rather than an over-reliance on certain players."
Finally, speaking about which fixtures he's looking forward to Martin said "I don't have one in particular I'm looking out for, but all the talk will be on the return of the Sheffield derby."
"It's always a passionate and keenly contested occasion and we've not played each other for 5 years. Owls fans have spent some time now (ever since we looked likely to be gaining promotion) telling us that the Championship is the toughest league going and a big step up, we'll be eager to disprove this apparent gulf in quality."