Sheffield United – Bristol City

Blades have had a turbulent season so far. As a play-off contenders had a weak start, then faced the injury crisis and noticed 8 games without a win. Overcoming the injuries reflected in positive run, but recently they again have some important players out. First goalie, Mark Bunn, broke his hand (Ian Bennett is decent substitution). Rock in the defense line, Chris Morgan, and fellow center-half Marcel Seip are out and that’s the main problem. As a result of these missings, United conceded 6 goals on two away games (WBA 1-3 and Watford 0-3). Then home draw vs. Derby 1-1 and unlucky defeat in the last round, on the road vs. Preston 1-2. Boss Kevin Blackwell was fuming on referees, accusing them for wrong decisions that ended in a defeat. However, Blackwell said, it wasn’t a players’ fault and the atmosphere in a dressing room hasn’t been spoiled. Beside mentioned players, Blackwell will miss midfielder James Harper. Only the current top three clubs have a better home record than the Blades.

City lie at the middle of the table, at 13th place, with the same distance from play-off and relegation zone. Their previous record and recent shape suggest they’ll stay there where are now. They have just a single win (Preston at home 4-2, before Ferguson’s appointment) in past eleven games and noticed just one point. Their main problem currently is scoring goals, they scored just once in last five competitive games (Coventry at home 1-1). Major cause is absence of key striker (and probably the best player), Nicky Maynard. For today’s clash, manager Gary Johnson will also miss winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce, another striker Danny Haynes and defender Jamie McAllister. City have conceded nine goals in injury time this season - more than any other Championship team (interesting fact is United have scored more goals in injury time than any other club - six).

I see United in play-off zone at the end of the season. They definitely have a quality for that, but if they want to reach it simply have to win games like this. They’re playing well recently, have huge attacking potential and their home ground is a fortress. Home win

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