Portsmouth's new Championship rivals axe five stalwarts with nine promotions between them

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Pompey’s soon-to-be Championship rivals Sheffield United have kick-started a summer squad overhaul following their relegation from the Premier League.

The Blades will return to the second tier after one season in the top flight without five club stalwarts, who have won nine promotions between them. That’s after they confirmed on Thursday that Chris Basham, George Baldock, Oliver Norwood, Wes Foderingham and Max Lowe will all leave Bramall Lane upon the expiry of their contracts next month.

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Further exits remain possible as manager Chris Wilder weighs up the club’s retained list once the Premier League season has finished. The quintet’s departures were announced before United face Tottenham on Sunday so that Blades fans can afford them a proper send-off after years of loyalty.

A club statement read: ‘The Blades can confirm Chris Basham, George Baldock, Oliver Norwood, Wes Foderingham and Max Lowe will leave the club when their contracts expire this summer.

‘The aforementioned players will each embark on new chapters in their careers following the conclusion of this campaign, having helped the Blades to success during their spells at Bramall Lane.

‘They share a total of nine promotions in their Blades careers and the club see fit to release this news ahead of the end of the campaign to enable them to receive acclaim from Unitedites for their contributions. With the visit of Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday being United's final fixture of the campaign, special acknowledgements will be paid to the five, with further tributes across the club's digital platforms.

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‘The five players will depart with our gratitude and appreciation for the contribution they have made to Sheffield United Football Club.’

Pompey’s last league encounter with Sheffield United was in April 2023, when they beat them 3-0 at Fratton Park - a League One fixture that followed the Supporters’ Trust’s successful takeover of the club. The last time both teams competed against each other in the Championship was in 2010-11, with both winning their respective home games 1-0.

The Blades will begin the 2024-25 Championship with a two-point deduction after defaulting on payments to other clubs during their 2022-23 promotion-winning campaign.. A further two points have been suspended.

Championship fixtures will be announced at 9am on Wednesday, June 26.

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