Chris Wilder will have his troops ready for this one and holds the added advantage of knowing exactly how most of United’s team will play. We are backing a tight encounter with Boro ending it.
With Boro being the home side, we expect them to start this one quick out of the blocks and get an early goal.
Chris Wilder’s side have had a poor start to the season by their standards, earning a decent point at home to West Brom but then suffering a 3-2 defeat to QPR at Loftus Road, which could have been much more embarrassing given they were 3-0 down after 38 minutes. Boro have not spent a fortune by any stretch so far this window but quality has been added to an already capable squad at this level, with Marcus Fross signing from Brentford for around £3 million and Zack Steffen joining on loan from Manchester City.
Boro will be aiming for playoffs at a minimum this year after missing out thanks to a second-half season slump last time out. The odds of that happening are extremely short at 10/11 and its east to see why with the manager having a strong history of promotion success. This will be Wilder’s first full season in charge and the summer should have given him a chance to impose his ideas on his squad. Boro are also favourites for this clash, with bookies pricing them at 6/4.
Wilder’s former side Sheffield United are the visitors this weekend and have had a better start to the season than his current team. A 2-0 win over Millwall last weekend was a solid result for the Blades and repaired the damage done by the opening day defeat to Watford. Paul Heckingbottom has been active in the transfer market so far, adding five players but like Boro, they have not spent a fortune with only Malmo centre-back Anel Ahmedhodzic costing a fee, believed to be around £4 million.
Unlike their opponents, United made the playoffs last year, losing on penalties in the semi-final to eventual promotion winners Nottingham Forest. Despite having a better start to the season, they still go to the Riverside as second favourites with bookies pricing them at 19/10 to take all three points back to South Yorkshire, with the draw a similar price at 21/10.