He still has a long to go before being considered for a regular starting role but David Brooks, Sheffield United’s teenage midfielder, is making a positive impression behind the scenes.
Brooks, the latest player to roll of the Steelphalt Academy production line, could make his third pre-season appearance at Grimsby Town today after being namechecked by Chris Wilder in midweek.
With United’s new manager confirming he plans to draw on United’s youth programme during the forthcoming League One campaign - “providing the lads show they’re good enough” - Brooks’ performance will be monitored closely by coaching staff following an encouraging cameo against FC Halifax Town on Tuesday.
“Brooksy came in and did well,” Wilder said. “He’s a promising young player.
“There’s still lots for him to learn, as you would expect, but he’s doing well and that has to continue.”
Wilder’s decision to highlight Brooks following United’s 2-0 defeat was significant given that, after criticising their display, he refused to mention any other member of the visitors’ squad. But, describing the fact United had picked-up no fresh injuries as “probably the only bonus” of the evening, Wilder did confirm that George Long will feature against last season’s National League play-off final winners. The goalkepeer has failed to appear in any of United’s warm-up fixtures so far this summer. and, despite training fully, Wilder will welcome Long’s return as he attempts to establish clear lines of communication among a remodelled defence.
“George will play on Saturday,” Wilder said. “He probably could have played (against FC Halifax) but we just wanted to give him a little bit more time. Just to make sure he’s right.”
Grimsby are set to be without Rhys Browne (hamstring) and Zak Mills (knee) for the meeting with United. (Kick-off 3pm).