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PREVIEW: Blades travel to the Hawthorns for six-point clash

Sheffield United are able to go four points clear of their West-Midlands based promotion rivals, with a victory at the historic Hawthorns.

Chris Wilder’s team head into this fixture, following their largest win of the campaign. Annihilating relegation-bound Reading 4-0, with new-signing Gary Madine opening his Blades account with a brace in front of the United faithful.

On the other hand, West Brom’s squad have had to prepare for this marquee match with significantly less rest, as they travelled to QPR midweek. Resting key midfielders Gareth Barry, and Rakeem Harper, Darren Moore’s side were still able to snatch the three points in the 94th winner through Jake Livermore.

Sheffield United v West Bromwich Albion - Sky Bet Championship : News Photo

Kieran Gibbs celebrates scoring against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, December 2018

Additionally, starlet Dwight Gayle is also set to return for the televised fixture, having served a two-match ban after being punished by the Football Association for successful deception of a match official. The 28-year-old is likely to replace Jefferson Montero in the starting 11, who scored his first Baggies goal at Loftus Road.

For the Blades, Chris Basham is available again following his suspension. The versatile defender has served a two-match for 10 yellow cards, and could be recalled to the starting lineup on Saturday.

Moreover, George Baldock and Jack O’Connell have both been undergoing treatment for calf and hamstring injuries respectively, with Wilder being very hopeful that the pair can be included in the match day squad. Dynamic goal scoring duo Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick could also be brought back into the team after the duo, who have scored a combined 33 league goals, were rested against Reading.

Inevitably, Moore and Wilder mutually will be in desperate need for a fully-fit squad going into this six-point clash, as boths team will be hoping they can promote their bid for an automatic promotion spot, with a declared victory.

Match Stats:

West Brom are looking to complete a league double over the South-Yorkshire based side for the first time since the 1998/99 campaign.

The Blades haven’t beaten West Brom at the Hawthorns since October 2003, when they won 2-0 with goals from Michael Tonge and Ashley Ward.

The Baggies have kept fewer home clean sheets than any other Championship club this season, only maintain two.

United skipper Billy Sharp has scored with all eight of his headed shots on target this season, making him the most prolific aerial threat in the division.

Jay Rodriguez has been involved in 14 goals in 16 league games at the Hawthorns, having scored 10 goals, and providing four assists.

Wilder’s men have lost only one of their last 11 league fixtures, winning seven, and drawing three.

 

 

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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.