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FAWC Preview: Sheffield United vs Charlton Athletic

After a three week absence since their first fixture of 2019 against Tottenham Hotspur, Carla Ward’s Sheffield United will return to action at the Olympic Legacy Park, as they host third placed Charlton Athletic. 

The 2-1 defeat in the hands of promotion-chasers Tottenham, was the Women’s first defeat on home soil, but definitely wasn’t a performance to leave the team tormented. Ward’s side left a lot more than sweat on the pitch, as they came narrowly short from taking a point from the game.

This Sunday’s opponents Charlton are also pushing for one of the promotion spots, after a convincingly strong first half of the campaign. In comparison to the Blades’, Charlton kept their promotion dreams alive to start 2019, with a 2-2 draw against rivals Durham.

However, Charlton’s fixture against second-placed Manchester United two weeks ago was abandoned inside the first 15 minutes. Defender Charlotte Kerr suffered a serious injury during Manchester United’s opening goal, which forced the referee to call off the fixture following a lengthy delay.

This ensures how huge the result of this fixture may impact both team’s season, as the Addicks look to keep up the pressure on Tottenham and Manchester United at the top end of the table. Whilst, United currently sit seventh in the table with games in hand over those above.

Additionally, Ward’s team currently sit five points behind London Bees in sixth, but have two games in hand as the run-in towards the end of the season has begun.

Blades fans will be hoping to see even more from new signings Ebony Salmon and Maddy Cusack, who both impressed on their debuts against Tottenham. While, Sam Tierney, Bex Rayner, Alethea Paul, and Veatriki Sarri will all return from international duty to the matchday squad.

On the other hand, Charlton will be looking at new signing Sara Eggesvik to show her ability and boost their chances of leaving Sheffield with three points. Eggesvik signed for the club earlier this month, following a successful spell at Norwegian club IK Grand Bodo.

This fixtures sees the beginning of a hectic schedule for United, with the FA Cup kicking off next weekend. Therefore, Ward will be hoping she can keep her squad fully fit going into this tough period.

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How does Chris Wilder’s pressing system differ to Norwich City’s?

With, Chris Wilder looking to bounce back from last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at the Liberty Stadium, an even tougher test is set just right around the corner for the Blades. As this Saturday, Sheffield United will visit Carrow Road, to derail Norwich City’s fantastic first half of the campaign.

Currently sat in second-place, Daniel Farke’s side has brought a new explosive style of the play to the Championship this season. Savouring their energy in the first half, giving them the ability to detonate their pace, and technique onto opponents late into games, when most players are beginning to tire. However, with Chris Wilder and his coaches also demanding such a high level of fitness from his players. Norwich may be in for a scare, as the Blades narrowly sit three points behind them.

Sheffield United Norwich City
Goals Conceded 29 36
Shots Conceded per game 11.3 11.9
Tackles per game 14.5 16.3
Interceptions per game 11.1 9.1
Offsides per game 2.3 1.4
Goals Scored 46 52
Shots per game 12.9 14.5
Shots on-target per game 4.1 5.2
Dribbles per game 5.9 8.7
Fouled per game 9.8 13.7

Firstly, comparing the two Championship powerhouses on a defensive basis, Sheffield United are clearly more structured and disciplined at the back. Conceding less goals, and facing less shots per game, Wilder’s high defensive-line and constant pressing system, has proven to be able to push back opposing attackers into their own half before being intercepted by one of their pressing forwards.

Norwich City primarily set quite a deep back line in the first half, which may play into Sheffield United’s hands, as they look to hold possession and dictate the speed of the game. However, knowing that the Blades’ forwards have a knack of floating offside, Farke may adjust his defence, and lay an ongoing offside trap, in attempt to counter United’s high-pressing system.

Additionally, with the likes of John Egan, and Jack O’Connell laying down a brick wall in front of Dean Henderson’s goal, Wilder and his staff will be confident they can hold out Norwich. In spite of this examining offensive statistics alone, the Canaries’ attack may have too much going forward for United’s defence to handle.

Averaging over 14 shots per game, with at least five of those being on target, Norwich have one of the fiercest frontline’s in the Championship. With their ability to take the ball from deep, and quickly switch the ball to their direct wingers, who average more dribbles per game than any other team in the division. United’s defenders will have to stay disciplined, and avoid lunging into risky tackles, as Norwich’s forwards also have a persistency to hold deep into the opposing backline, making it easy for them to draw fouls in dangerous area.

Sheffield United Norwich City
Possession % 51.6 55.2
Pass Success % 75.9 78.8
Short Passes per game 383 438
Long Passes per game 76 65
Crosses per game 23 17
Aerial duels won per game 24.8 18

Furthermore, comparing each team’s passing styles, it is evident that both teams have a similar philosophy of wanting to dominate possession and look to dictate the play around opponents. Clearly Norwich have seen more success this season, with their ability to play the ball short, and work away at tired defenders, only Leeds United have managed higher possession percentage in the Championship this season.

In order to counter Norwich’s heavy possession-based system, Wilder may have to alter his passing style if he is to have a successful trip to Carrow Road. Undoubtedly, United will utilise their rampaging wing-back and overlapping outside centre backs, which will cause many issues for Norwich. Also, as the Blades average significantly more aerial duels won per game, launching as many crosses and long balls into the box, may show to be effective with Norwich more than likely not expecting a route one style of play from Wilder. Moreover, with the addition of Cardiff forward Gary Madine, the Blades should be able to use his height and strength to their advantage, dominating the ball in the air, whilst Norwich scramble to win back possession.

Sheffield United Norwich City
Goals scored in the first half 19 14
Goals scored in the second half 27 38

Attempting to predict the outcome of this fixture, it is clear Norwich look to sit deep for the entirety of the first half, maintaining possession, whilst wearing down their opposition. Farke then changes the tempo of his team, when he notices his opponents are starting to tire, igniting a high press system which gives Norwich’s attackers the freedom to punish late on in a game.

If Wilder can intercept Norwich’s possession-based system and grab an early lead, this will put pressure on the Canaries to press United in the first half, not allowing Norwich to dictate the tempo of the game. Conclusively, if United can’t score in the first half, Norwich will more than likely take the game into their possession and see out the fixture with a late goal, like they have played all season.

 

 

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Sheffield United allow 20-year-old defender to leave Bramall Lane

After completing a successful 6-month loan spell with Scottish outfit Queen of the South, youth prospect Callum Semple has left Sheffield United after completing a permanent transfer to the Doonhamers rivals’ Ross County. 

Returning to Bramall Lane earlier this month, Semple was assessed by Chris Wilder and his coaching staff, before signing an 18-month contract with the Scottish Championship club.

Despite being born and raised in Sheffield, Semple’s parents are both from Scotland which has gained him the eligibility to represent Scotland on an international level, which made his profile even more appealing to Ross County co-managers Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell.

Semple, a product of the Blades’ youth academy, has played in red and white and for over 10 years, and appeared to be on the verge of breaking into Chris Wilder’s first team nearly two years ago. However, after facing a serious knee injury which nearly sidelined the central defender for 12 months, his chances were cut short in Sheffield.

Regardless of his injury problems, the defender excelled under Gary Naysmith at Queen of the South ,making 27 appearances in all competitions. Semple was a pivotal part of Naysmith’s side, which sat comfortably in the playoffs just before he returned to Sheffield. He also managed to score his first professional goal in a Queen of the South shirt, towering over a Greenock Morton defender in a game which ended 2-2.

Semple’s arrival at the Dingwell club comes following a flurry of activity in the January transfer window, as he joins Daniel Armstrong, Kenny van der Weg, and Lewis Spence to the Highlands where the Staggies are in a fantastic position to return to Scotland’s top flight next term.

The 20-year-olds new employers sit three points clear of their competition, however they could lose the top spot if Ayr are able to beat Dundee United on Friday night.

 

 

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Swansea City vs Sheff Utd: Past five meetings

With Sheffield United looking to build on their fantastic current league form, they travel to the Liberty Stadium to take on Graham Potter’s Swansea City, in a bid to obtain their fifth consecutive league victory.

But how have the Blades fared against the Welsh club in recent history?

Here, we take a look at the two clubs previous five meetings:

Swansea 2 SUFC 1, Championship, 26 Sep 2009

Very early into the 2009/10 Championship campaign, Kevin Blackwell’s side were seeking to build on their healthy start to the season, as they stepped into this fixture sitting sixth in the table after nine games.

The Swans’ Lee Trundle began the scoring, tucking away from the penalty spot on the 52nd minute, after being fouled by Nick Montgomery.

United levelled 21 minutes later, as James Harper’s driven shot was put into the net by Stephen Quinn’s back heel, shortly before Jordi Lopez saw red for Swansea.

Unfortunately for Blackwell, out of nothing Tom Butler delivered a spectacular 25-yard effort past Paddy Kenny, only eight minutes after the equaliser. Soon after, Nathan Dyer’s second yellow card reduced the Swans’ to nine men, however Paulo Sousa’s side were able to hold out for their first league win in five fixtures.

SUFC 2 Swansea 0, Championship, 24 April 2010

At different ends of the table opposed to their previous meeting at the Liberty Stadium, the Blades’ Playoff hopes were over with two games to play, whilst Swansea were placed just inside the top-six, with Blackpool sat closely behind.

Early in the second half Richard Creswell put a dint in Swansea’s Playoff dreams, as he hooked Mark Yeates’ lay off into the top-right corner.

In the 90th minute, Creswell added to his tally, after good work inside the box before firing the ball under Doris De Vries. A goal which was later deemed a De Vries own goal by the English Football League.

This defeat for Swansea at Bramall Lane, saw them slip out of the Championship’s top six for the first time since December.

SUFC 1 Swansea 0, Championship, 18 December 2010

Following Gary Speed’s departure as first team manager to take over as the Wales National Team boss, John Carver was appointed caretaker manager, with his first test against Swansea at Bramall Lane.

An overall poor afternoon for the visitors was illuminated by a moment of quality by the Blades, as they took the lead a minute before the break. Carver was given an immediate boost, as Ched Evans timed his run perfectly, latching his right foot to Andy Reid’s over the top ball.

Swansea had a few sights of goal with the best chances falling to English forward Scott Sinclair. Although, Brendan Rodgers’ team lacked the clinicalness in front of goal, inevitably gifting the home side three points.

Swansea 4 SUFC 0, Championship, 7 May 2011

A day which still haunts all Blades fan alike, as Swansea hammered the already relegated Sheffield United to clinch third place, and book themselves a play-off meeting against Nottingham Forest.

Stephen Dobbie opened the scoring with a sweetly struck free-kick from a tight angle after Matthew Lowton fouled Scott Sinclair just outside the penalty area.

Sinclair doubled the hosts’ lead from the spot, after Shane Lowry was shown a red card for handling the forward’s shot on the goal line.

Dobbie struck again from the edge of the box, while Leon Britton grabbed a late fourth, ending the nightmare performance from United.

SUFC 1 Swansea 2, Championship, 4 August 2018

For those who weren’t able to attend this current season’s opener at Bramall Lane. Sheffield United looked to kick start their campaign with a victory as they welcomed recently relegated Swansea City.

Chris Wilder’s side began brightly and should have taken the lead after 20 minutes, as Lee Evans’ curling effort just evaded the far post. Swansea were cautious and looked to hit the hosts on the counter, but rarely threatened Dean Henderson between the sticks.

In 62nd minute, the Blades had their dream start to the campaign, as George Baldock latched onto a whipped cross from Enda Stevens. However, their lead would only last nine minutes, as Oli McBurnie smashed home a rebound attempt.

Substitute Jefferson Montero proved to be the real difference late into the game. Terrorising the Blades defence, he teed up a perfect cross into new signing Yan Dhanda, who had the perfect finishing touch to fire Swansea to an opening day victory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Does Gary Madine warrant a starting place in Sheffield United’s front line?

Being consistently tagged as ‘a handful at this level’ by many Championship defenders including Sheffield United’s own Jack O’Connell and John Egan, the loan signing of Cardiff City forward Gary Madine has caused nothing but split opinion between Blades fans since his arrival.

The 28-year-old has been heavily criticised before even touching a football in a United shirt, due to his foolish off the field antics early into his professional career. However, with Chris Wilder praising his professionalism and enthusiasm to play for Sheffield United, the only question that needs answering is does Madine have the footballing ability to lead United’s strikeforce to Championship glory?

Early in his career, Madine saw minimal success with stints at Carlisle United, and Sheffield Wednesday which included various short loan spells at Rochdale, Coventry City on two occasions, and Blackpool. It wasn’t until his move to Bolton Wanderers in 2015, where he first started to flaunt his strong presence, and aerial ability, which has carved him into the perfect Football League target man.

Helping the Trotters gain promotion back to the Championship in 2017, he then followed up the promotion campaign, with a magnificent start to life in the Championship. Being the focal point in Phil Parkinson’s long ball system, Madine would hold up play, and have the ability bring two central defenders out of the game at one time, to allow Bolton’s widemen to cut inside and worry the goalkeeper. The English forward’s remarkable start to the 2017/18 season, then opened the eyes of Cardiff City’s manager Neil Warnock, who in the January transfer window splashed a reported £6 million on Madine, making him the Bluebirds most expensive transfer since the 2013/14 season. Despite, not scoring a league goal for Cardiff, he still showed glimpses of his best, as many blades fans will remember Madine knocking the ball down to Anthony Pilkington who scored a last-minute equaliser at Bramall Lane last term.

So, now having the lowdown on Madine’s most successful Championship campaign, how does he compare to Wilder’s current frontline?

Apps Goals Shots per game Assists Key Passes Pass Succession% Dribbles per game Aerials Won
Madine (17/18) Bolton 28 10 2.7 5 1.5 58.2 0.3 8.8
Madine (17/18) Cardiff 5 (8) 0 0.8 2 0.8 59.7 0.2 4
Sharp 21 (4) 16 2 1 0.8 75.8 0.1 1
McGoldrick 22 (5) 10 2.7 3 0.6 73.9 0.9 2.6
Clarke 9 (14) 3 0.9 3 0.4 61.8 0.1 2.6
Washington 3 (9) 0 0.8 1 0.3 83.3 0.2 0.3

When comparing Madine’s clinical nature in front of goal against United’s current forwardline, obviously the skipper Billy Sharp outshines every other striker with his impressive goal to game ratio this season. Although, comparing his time at Bolton with David McGoldrick shows how put into the right system, Madine may prove to be as effective as the Irishman. Also, with him slightly averaging more shots per game than Sharp, placed in Wilder’s free flowing attacking system, with the likes of Mark Duffy, John Fleck, and Oliver Norwood supporting the tall striker, he will more than likely flourish in their presence.

Additionally, it is evident that Madine is bestowed with a creative flair that our other forwards lack. Averaging more key passes than our current front line, alongside an impressive seven assists for both Championship club’s last term, suggests his quality in the air, and ability to link up with another striker, which may bring even more goals out of Sharp and McGoldrick.

Looking at the most pivotal part of Madine’s style of play, his ability to dominate the football in the air, and use his powerful physique to hold of defenders, allowing more space in the penalty area. Madine clearly would be Wilder’s best option to utilise as a target man, with Leon Clarke usually being the forward to operate the role. The 28-year old obliterates his competitors by a large margin with the number of aerial duels he wins per game, proving with Madine in the side, Wilder will always have the option to resort to a route one, direct style of play, if his team is struggling to break down a resolute back line.

Apps Aerials Won
Kieffer Moore (Barnsley) 16 (4) 9.6
Gary Madine (Bolton) 28 8.8
Steve Morison (Millwall) 38 (6) 7.5
Sean Morrison (Cardiff) 38 (1) 7.2
Matt Smith (QPR) 17 (24) 6.9
Harlee Dean (Birmingham) 34 6.4
Joe Garner (Preston) 29 (3) 6.3
Tom Elliott (Millwall) 8 (16) 6.2
Shaun Hutchinson (Millwall) 46 6.1

Interestingly, comparing him against the rest of the Championship on aerial duels won alone, there is only Barnsley’s forward Kieffer Moore that had the ability to control the ball in the air, at a better standard than the Blades’ new signing. Justifying how even compared to the most dominant aerial central defenders the Championship had to offer last season, Madine was always able to use his height and physical advantage to command and even separate the more structured back lines.

Withal considered, Madine does have the grit and technique to maintain a starting position in Wilder’s front line. Granting this, with the consistent nature in front of goal of Sharp, and the skilful attributes that McGoldrick brings, Madine may just have to make his mark off the bench and win over the critical Sheffield United fans.

 

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Jordan Hallam bags on his Chesterfield debut – SUFC LOAN WATCH

Completing an initial one-month loan deal to National League outfit Chesterfield on Friday, young forward Jordan Hallam managed to hit his first goal for the club 41 minutes into his Spireites debut, as eight others feature.

Here’s the full lowdown of this week’s action beginning with the debutant and goal scorer…

Being placed straight into the starting 11, less than 24 hours after signing for the club, Jordan Hallam couldn’t have asked for a better start to life at Chesterfield. Placing a cross from Jerome Binnom-Williams directly into the bottom right-corner, Hallam secured the equalizer for the Spireites as they drew 1-1 away at Eastleigh.

https://twitter.com/GriffinAnalysis/status/1066356547499032576

Glancing over this week’s League One, only two loanees featured, with Ricky Holmes (Oxford United) being ruled out with a back injury, and Samir Carruthers (Oxford United) unable to feature for his side midweek against Forest Green Rovers in the FA Cup, and away at Bradford this weekend.

Enduring the most success, central defender Ben Heneghan started and played another 90 minutes for Blackpool. Being a key member in shutting out Burton at Bloomfield Road, the Seasiders ran away with a convincing 3-0 victory.

Making his 14th league appearance for Fleetwood, former Wales International Ched Evans lacked cutting edge in front of goal, despite causing danger for Plymouths defence. Evans had his chance to gift Fleetwood the lead early into the second half, although Plymouth capitalised on his missed chances, and went on to win the fixture 2-1.

Additionally, three loanees featured for League Two clubs this weekend, with Caolan Lavery (Bury FC) still ruled out of action due to injury, and Sam Graham (Oldham Athletic) unable to appear off the bench against Tranmere Rovers.

Reaping the rewards from a fantastic month, on-loan at Tranmere Harvey Gilmour was named EFL Young Player of the Month. During the month of October, Gilmour scored three goals including an emphatic 89th minute winner against Morecombe, as well as assisting one goal, and confirming his name consistently in the Tranmere starting eleven.

https://twitter.com/TranmereRovers/status/1065955102903668736

Playing another 90 minutes for the Rovers midweek, Gilmour again helped marshal their midfield, as they knocked out Oxford City 2-1, in the first round of the FA Cup. However, in a 1-1 draw against Oldham, Gilmour was rested despite his fantastic current form.

On-loan at Carlisle United, Regan Slater pulled off another Man of the Match performance, despite his side narrowly losing 2-1 at home to Forest Green. An early opportunity from Slater nearly gave the Cumbrians the lead, however his shot angled slightly over the bar, which opened

Subsequently, Nathan Thomas played 90 minutes for Notts County, although he was unable to make any sort of impact, as County drew 1-1 away at Morecombe.

Looking outside of the Football League, Tyler Smith and Rhys Norrington-Davies both started for Barrow AFC in a 20 win away at Aldershot. Whilst, Norrington-Davies had a quiet game, Smith on the other hand caused havoc for the entirely for the first half, leaving Aldershot’s goalkeeper Will Mannion stranded as he slotted the ball into the bottom right-corner in the 27th minute.

In addition, David Parkhouse didn’t feature for Boston United as they defeated Ashton United 5-0 in the FA Trophy third qualifying round.

Finally, Callum Semple on-loan at Queen of the South in the Scottish Championship, was subbed on late into their impressive 4-1 victory over Formartine United, which saw them into the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.

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Slater scores twice, as Carlisle breeze past Swindon – SUFC LOAN WATCH

Enduring a tough start to life at Brunton Park, 19-year old midfielder Regan Slater finally found his shooting boots at the weekend, as nine other United loanees featured.

Here’s the full lowdown of this weekend’s action, beginning with the goalscorer…

Starting the game away at Swindon Town, Slater took his first goal in the 46th minute, as he laced the ball into the top right corner from just inside the box, following a headed knock down from Ashley Nadeson. He then tipped the icing on the cake for John Sheridan’s side, scoring his second of the game, and Carlisle’s fourth, with another right-footed strike which was firmly finished into the bottom right corner.

Continuing his fine form for Oxford United, Winger Ricky Holmes again showed his quality at League One level. Being a constant threat in front of goal, Holmes was able to contribute in the U’s 1-0 home victory against Gillingham. Also, on-loan at Oxford United, Samir Carruthers was not featured in the 18 man squad.

Moving forward, former Wales international Ched Evans was unable to make a difference in Fleetwood’s home tie against Walsall. Being substituted on for Wes Burns in the 59th minute, Evans never really got into the game, which finished a 0-0 bore draw.

In addition, being utilised in a back-three for the first time this campaign, Ben Heneghan was able to deny Sam Mantom a chance on goal, with a last ditch tackle early in the first half. Overall, Heneghan was capable enough to solidify Blackpool’s defence enough for them to secure a 2-1 away win at Southend United.

Paying attention to this week’s League Two action, alongside Slater, two others featured with neither of them entertaining much collective success.

Firstly, on-loan at Notts County Nathan Thomas played the entire 90 minutes, as his side were emphatically dismantled at home by Cheltenham. Furthermore, midfielder Harvey Gilmour was enable to deliver any cutting edge which may have given Tranmere Rovers the difference during their 3-2 away defeat in the hands of Crewe Alexandra.

On the other hand, Sam Graham was able to watch his side Oldham Athletic push over Cambridge United in a 3-1 victory. Although, this was done from the bench, as Graham yet again was an unused substitute for the Latics.

Trying to overlook the National League, Tyler Smith and Rhys Norrington-Davies both had a miserable weekend on-loan at Barrow AFC. Both starting the game, and finishing 90 minutes, the Bluebirds were inhilated 3-0 at home to Eastleigh.

Even further down the English pyramid, under-18 England International Marcus Dewhurst again pulled off some incredible saves, as Gainsborough Trinity punished Whitby Town 4-1. Differently, on-loan at Boston United David Parkhouse had to watch his side lose 2-1 in the hands of Southport FC, from the bench as he was an unused sub.

Outside of England, young central defender Callum Semple featured in a six-goal thriller for Queen of South. In a game which ended 3-3, Qos had a blistering start to the game leading 3-0 going into the 65th minute. However, a lapse of concentration from Semple and his defensive peers allowed Inverness back into game, which only ended in tears after such a dominant first half performance.

 

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David Parkhouse makes his Boston United debut – SUFC LOAN WATCH

Signing an initial one-month youth loan deal for Boston United at the start of the week, Northern Ireland under-21 forward David Parkhouse made his first appearance for the Pilgrims, as nine other United loanees featured. 

Here’s the full lowdown of this week’s action, starting with the debutant…

Making his debut in a disastrous 3-1 loss to Brackley Town, Parkhouse was brought into the game as a late sub, and was unable to spur a Boston comeback. Moving to the weekend’s fixture, the 19-year old was again introduced from the bench, as he replaced former Blade Jordan Slew in a 1-1 draw away at Ashton United.

Overlooking this week’s League One action, three loanees featured, with none of them cherishing much individual or collective success.

On-loan at Oxford United, Ricky Holmes endured a fantastic start away at Scunthorpe, as the U’s took an impressive 3-0 lead, with Holmes linking up well with goalscorer James Henry in the build up of the first goal. Unfortunately for Oxford, the game fell out of their hands late into the second half, as the Iron made a magnificent comeback to equalise the game at 3-3. Failing to even feature on the bench, Samir Carruthers also on-loan at Oxford, didn’t play.

Additionally, in a game which the entire Fleetwood team will be wanting to forget, Welsh forward Ched Evans missed their only clear cut chance of the game. Heading the ball narrowly over Tomas Holy’s goal, in a 3-0 defeat away at Gillingham.

Suffering the same amount of pain, on-loan at Blackpool. Ben Heneghan played the entire 90 minutes, as his side were dismantled 3-0 against Bristol Rovers at Bloomfield Road.

Moving forward, on-loan at Carlisle United, Regan Slater featured off the bench as his side battled back late. As, Danny Grainger’s 92nd minute winner gave the Cumbrians all three points, as they defeated Newport County 3-2 at Brunton Park.

Harvey Gilmour, on-loan at Tranmere also helped consolidate his side’s 2-0 lead at home to Exeter, replacing attacking midfielder Larnell Cole in the 74th minute.

Moreover, defender Sam Graham (Oldham AFC) and winger Nathan Thomas (Notts County) were both named in the match day squads for their teams respectively, but both were unused substitutes.

Outside of the football league, Tyler Smith and Rhys Norrington-Davies both featured midweek for Barrow AFC against Harrogate Town. Both starting the game, Smith was able to score his 7th league goal of the campaign. However, his effort only proved to be a consolation goal, as Barrow lost the game 4-2.

In addition, Norrington-Davies again started for Barrow in a 1-0 defeat to the hands of Ebbsfleet. Unfortunately for Smith, he saw himself on the sidelines for this fixture due to fitness.

Furthermore, England under-18 International goalkeeper Marcus Dewhurst featured twice for non-league outfit Gainsborough Trinity. Firstly, in a horrendous FA Trophy replay 3-0 defeat to Tamworth, followed by a more respectable 1-1 draw away at Stafford Rangers.

To round off this week’s action, on-loan at Scottish Championship side Queen of South, Callum Semple faced defeat twice in one week. The first coming in a 2-1 loss at home against Greenock Morton, and the second being a 2-0 defeat away at Dundee United.

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“Best on the pitch again” – Ricky Holmes lauded after MOTM performance – SUFC LOAN WATCH

Another sub-standard week of action for Sheffield United’s loanees, made it effortless for attacking midfielder Ricky Holmes to steal the headlines following his Man of the Match performance at home to Shrewsbury. 

Ten loanees featured throughout the week, with Caolan Lavery (Bury FC) still ruled out due to injury, and Sam Graham (Oldham AFC) failing to even make an appearance off the bench.

Here’s the full lowdown of this week’s action, starting with Holmes…

The 31-year old began the week with a visit back to his former club Charlton Athletic, in which his current club Oxford United, came from behind to secure an unlikely 1-1 draw. Holmes enjoyed a strong individual performance at the Valley, as he completed more dribbles than any other player on the field, and almost levelled for the visitors on the brink of half-time, but narrowly missed the target.

Moving forward, Holmes again started for Oxford, as his team welcomed Shrewsbury to the Kassam Stadium. During the game, his work rate and creativity showed dividends, as many Oxford fans tagged him the ‘MOTM’ despite not getting himself on the scoresheet. The game ended 3-0 in the U’s favour.

Also, on-loan at Oxford United, Samir Carruthers didn’t receive the same number of plaudits. Making his only appearance of the week off the bench against Charlton replacing Holmes in the 93rd minute.

On-loan at Fleetwood Town, Ched Evans was unable to create any clear-cut chances, as his side lost 1-0 away at Peterborough United. However, his fortunes changed at the weekend, as Fleetwood beat Blackpool for the first time in the club’s history thanks to a 3-2 win at Highbury. Linking up well with Wes Burns and Ashley Hunter all game, Evans was an influential figure in the club’s historic win.

On the other hand, on-loan at Blackpool, Ben Heneghan played the entire 90 minutes in his side’s 3-2 loss to Fleetwood and doing so failed to maintain the direct and pacey threat which Ashley Hunter deployed. Furthermore, the central defender didn’t feature for the Seasiders’ 1-0 victory over Scunthorpe midweek.

Additionally, there were three loanees in action during this week’s League Two fixtures, and unfortunately none of them relished in much success.

Enduring another miserable week, Nathan Thomas failed to make an impact in both of his games, featuring off the bench in Notts County’s 2-1 loss to MK Dons midweek, and their 2-1 defeat to Swindon Town at the weekend.

Making a comeback to the first team, Regan Slater on-loan at Carlisle, was played out of position as a part of the Cumbrians back four against Lincoln City, in a game which ended a 2-2 draw. However, moving back into his favoured central midfield position, Slater was forced out in a midfield battle against Yeovil’s Sessi D’Almeida, which led to his side losing 1-0 at Brunton Park.

Finalizing the League Two action, Harvey Gilmour had to deal with as with a 3-1 loss to Forest Green Rovers, as his side Tranmere Rovers failed to obtain any momentum against their old non-league rivals. Despite this, Tranmere were raring to go in their weekend fixture against Crawley, as they emphatically won the game 5-1, with Gilmour making a short appearance off the bench.

Looking outside of the football league, Tyler Smith, and Rhys Norrington-Davies both featured in Barrow AFC’s 2-0 defeat against Barnet. Whilst, defender Callum Semple was subbed on late into the second half, as his side Queen of the South decisively saw off Falkirk 2-0 in the Scottish Championship.

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Smith again shines for Barrow, as eight Blades feature – SUFC LOAN WATCH

In what was an underwhelming weekend of action for Sheffield United’s loanees, 19-year old forward Tyler Smith stole the headlines as he continued his great form at Barrow AFC. 

Eight loanees featured this weekend, with Ricky Holmes (Oxford United), and Caolan Lavery (Bury FC) both ruled out due to injury.

Here’s the full lowdown on all the action, starting with the goalscorer…

Despite Barrow narrowly losing 3-2 to the hands of Chorley in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup, young forward Smith again boasted his eye of goal.

Scoring his seventh goal of the season in all competitions, Smith’s impressive first half performance handed Barrow a 2-0 lead going into the second half. However, unfortunately for the Barrow loyal, Smith’s first half efforts wasn’t enough to put the game to bed, as Chorley battled back and managed to complete an emphatic comeback.

Also out on-loan at Barrow, Rhys Norrington-Davies started and played 90 minutes against Chorley. However, his performance didn’t warrant the same amount of praise from manager Ian Evatt.

In fact, an all around poor performance from the inexperienced fullback, was rounded off with him getting booked late in the game for an unnecessary off the ball incident.

Additionally, there were three loanees in action during this weekend’s League One fixtures, and disappointingly none of them enjoyed much collective or individual success.

Replacing Jason Holt midway through the second half, Ched Evans failed to help Fleetwood scavenge any points, as Joey Barton’s side were easily beaten by league leaders Portsmouth.

On-loan at Oxford United, Samir Carruthers struggled to make any impact as his side drew 0-0 away at Bristol Rovers.

The best collective outing came for central defender Ben Heneghan, who came off the bench to help maintain Blackpool’s 2-0 lead at home to AFC Wimbledon.

Overlooking League Two action, Nathan Thomas had a miserable weekend, as he had to first hand witness his club Notts County get dispatched 4-0 to promotion battlers Bury.

Moreover, starting for Tranmere away at Yeovil, Harvey Gilmour had a steady defensive performance, but failed to create any danger in front of goal. As, he was substituted in the 61st minute, in a game which ended 0-0.

In other League Two fixtures, Sam Graham at Oldham, and Regan Slater at Carlisle, both had to watch their sides from the bench, not making any first team minutes this weekend.

To conclude, Callum Semple currently on-loan at Scottish Championship outfit Queen of the South, made a short appearance of the bench, as his team were successful on the road as they beat Dunfermline Athletic 1-0.