There is a cluster of pre-season friendlies taking place on the final weekend before the 2020/21 Premier League campaign gets underway and we’ll be bringing you all the key Fantasy Premier League headlines from those fixtures over the coming days.
The action kicked off on Friday in South Yorkshire, with Sheffield United sharing four goals with Preston North End in their final warm-up match before the competitive action commences.
Sheffield United 2-2 Preston North End
- Goals: John Lundstram (£5.5m), Billy Sharp (£6.0m)
- Assists: Oliver McBurnie (£6.0m), Lys Mousset (£6.0m)
John Lundstram (£5.5m) made his first appearance of pre-season on Friday, scoring in a 45-minute run-out for Sheffield United in their two-all draw with Preston North End.
The recently reclassified FPL midfielder, whose future is still to be resolved, slotted home a 36th-minute opener for the Blades after being teed up by Oliver McBurnie (£6.0m).
McBurnie had pulled out of the Scotland squad earlier in the week, citing injury, but was again fit enough for another pre-season appearance at Bramall Lane, before being replaced by Lys Mousset (£6.0m) at the break.
Mousset limped off with just under 20 minutes of the contest to go but boss Chris Wilder wasn’t too concerned about the knock that forced the Frenchman’s substitution, saying:
It’s looking alright. He’s took a whack to the top of his toe. It’s not a pull, it’s not a serious injury. A bit of TLC from the physios to Lys’s toe and the six inches between his ears, will get him back out on the grass hopefully on Monday and Tuesday. He’ll be fine.
Elsewhere on the injury front, Jack O’Connell (£5.0m) again wasn’t involved and hasn’t kicked a ball in pre-season.
The centre-back is set to be available in Gameweek 1, however, with his manager saying after full-time:
Jack will be fit for Wolves, 100%. He’s working away with the conditioners. No risk today.
Not an ideal situation, we would have liked him to have got minutes, but we’ll most likely have a bounce game amongst ourselves during the week. Jack will be available for that, I’m told.
We’re expecting everyone to be fit and healthy.
Wilder also confirmed that Jack Rodwell (unpriced) will be available after a period of self-isolation.
On the field, Billy Sharp (£6.0m) scored his third goal of pre-season and again stepped up to take a penalty when Oliver Norwood (£5.0m) was on the pitch.
Sharp made no mistake from 12 yards after Mousset had forced a handball out of Preston’s Ben Pearson.
The veteran striker has played more pre-season minutes than any Sheffield United player, although the unavailability of McBurnie and David McGoldrick (£5.5m) has partly accounted for that.
Wilder’s starting XI was about as strong as it could be, given O’Connell’s absence and the non-involvement of seven Bladesmen who are away on international duty.
Centre-half Kean Bryan deputised for Enda Stevens (£5.5m) down the left flank, with Wilder confirming that the Blades were in the market for two wing-backs – amongst others – to put pressure on the Ireland international and George Baldock (£5.5m).
A patched-up defence including back-up goalkeeper Wes Foderingham (£4.5m) and deputy centre-halves Jack Robinson (£4.5m) and Phil Jagielka (unpriced) was far from watertight, with Preston arguably having the better of the chances and hitting the woodwork twice in quick succession when the game was goalless.
The visitors levelled from the spot after Robinson had committed a foul in his own area and then grabbed a late equaliser from a corner with the last attack of the game.
Sheffield United XI: Foderingham, Basham, Jagielka, J. Robinson, Baldock, Lundstram (Slater 45), Norwood, Osborn, Bryan, McBurnie (Mousset 45, Hackford 72), Sharp.
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