The pre-season form of Rhys Williams earned him a place from the start for the first time, partnered in midfield by Didier Digard in a side captained by Robert Huth.
Middlesbrough: Coyne; McMahon, Wheater, Huth (Capt.), Grounds, Yeates, Williams, Digard, A Johnson, Aliadiere, Emnes. Subs: Steele (gk); Hoyte, Taylor, O'Neil, Arca, Franks, Lita.
Sheffield United: Bunn; France, Montgomery, Morgan, (Capt.), Kilgallon, Taylor, Howard, Treacy, Walker, Quinn, Henderson. Subs: Bennett (gk); Little, Reid, Cotterill, Bromby, Sharp, Evans.
Referee Lee Mason. Lancashire.