2007-08 Season Preview: Sheffield United

Last updated : 03 August 2007 By @blades_mad1889

Team: Sheffield United

Nickname: The Blades
Address: Bramall Lane, Sheffield, S2 4SU
Official Website: www.sufc.co.uk
Stadium: Bramall Lane
Capacity: 33,000

Last Seasons Finish: 18th (Premier League)
2007-08 Prediction: Top 6

Championship Odds (Coral)
Outright: 8/1
Promotion: 13/5
Relegation: 25/1

Did You Know?

A distance of only 3.9 miles between Bramall Lane and Hillsborough makes the Sheffield Derby the shortest derby in the Coca-Cola Championship.

:: Fans View ::

Name: Jimmy Muir and Simon Tingle
Website: www.blades-mad.co.uk, www.sheffutd.vitalfootball.co.uk

01. What's the best that could happen this season?

JM: Promotion, United fought long and hard last season to keep themselves up but failed at the last hurdle with one difference of a goal plummeting them into the Championship. Promotion to the Premier League at the first attempt will heal quite a few wounds.

ST: Promotion! I'm hoping that Robson can attract some quality players to the Lane this summer. If he manages that, and we get Hulse back fit, than I can see us challenging for automatic promotion.

02. And the worst?

JM: Reaching the play-offs would be ideal but could also spell trouble for the Blades, they have competed in three play-offs (1996-97, 1997-98 and 2002-03) and not being successful in either one. Automatic promotion like they did in 2005-06 would be a dream but failing to win promotion would be a nightmare.

ST: The worst scenario is that we lose players such as Tonge, Jags and Hulse and have a terrible start to the campaign. If we're in the bottom half after 10 or 12 games I can see the crowd really getting on Robson's back.

03. Young player to watch?

JM: Stephen Quinn - He made his debut in the Premier League last season and did quite well, scoring two terrific free-kicks along the way, the Championship should prove a platform to impress.

ST: I'm really hoping for good things out of Nicky Law and Stephen Quinn this season! Quinn showed he could cope in the Premiership last season so hopefully he'll flourish at Championship level. Looking forward to Law hopefully having a prolonged run in the side too. I also saw glimpses from Shelton last season that suggest he could be quality if he's given a run in the side.

04. Most important player?

JM: Rob Hulse - The £2,500,000 striker I'm sure would have kept United in the Premiership had he not broke his leg at Chelsea last March. He had by netted 8 goals whilst due to lack of luck of the draw hit the crossbar four times and spurned a penalty before his injury.

Next season the Championship will prove a challenge but with the likes of Jonathan Stead, Danny Webber, Luton Shelton, Christian Nade and possibly Geoff Horsfield will have the firepower to fire the Blades to the top.

ST: I think Hulse will be pivotal to our challenge for promotion and hopefully he can strike up a good partnership with Stead, Nade or Shelton. Tonge could also prove vital if he's allowed to push forward and attack teams.

05. Player you would like to get rid of?

JM: Mikele Leigertwood - With Colin Kazim-Richards sold to Fenebache last June it means that Leigertwood is the dead wood man of the team. His inability to pass a ball nor tackle makes him a very pointless Midfielder.

ST: I think Webber deserves to be sold for his lack of effort and commitment last season. After all the talk of how he was going to take his second chance at Premiership football he was so disappointing! Just never looked interested when he was given a chance in the side.

06. Is your manager the right man for the job?

JM: Not sure. Bryan Robson has come to Bramall Lane disliked by many fans, not a personal grudge but past history with Middlesbrough, West Bromwich Albion and Bradford City which featured relegations from the top flight doesn't give Blades fans a reason to get excited although the Bantams were more-or-less down before he took charge.

ST: Only time will tell I guess, but I'm hardly excited by his appointment. Robson's definitely a big name but his record at club level is hardly impressive, and he has a habit of spending like there's no tomorrow!

07. What advice would you give him?

JM: Win promotion and the fans will love him. Under Neil Warnock we saw a lot of negative football - playing 4-5-1 away from home and sitting back when in front or occasionally playing the long ball game wasn't what we wanted to see. His days at Manchester United might see Robson bring back a more flowing passing game which we like.

ST: Please, please, please play two up front away from home! The only time we ever had any success away from home last season was when we played two up front, yet Warnock insisted on playing a lone striker again and again. In the end it cost us our Premiership place.

08. Which team do you most want to beat this season?

JM: Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley - When Sheffield United were promoted from the Championship during the 2005-06 season the Blades won 1-0 at Bramall Lane and capped a memorable Steel City Double by winning 2-1 at Hillsborough, I hope that history repeats itself.

Meanwhile Sheffield United haven't beaten Barnsley since February 1996 when a single Brett Angel goal was the difference at Bramall Lane, since then the Blades have faced the Reds eight times with our opponents being the victors on five occasions.

ST: Firstly I'd like to beat Sheffield Wednesday, secondly I'd like to beat Sheffield Wednesday and thirdly I'd like to beat....... SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

09. Which opposition player will get the most stick?

JM: Mainly any player who currently players or has played for both Sheffield Wednesday or Leeds United. Other than that Gareth Ainsworth and Andy Johnson (Barnsley) after ending Dane Whitehouse's career whilst playing for Port Vale. Johnson (whilst at Nottingham Forest) nearly caused Georges Santos to lose an eye when he head butted him in 2001.

ST: Anyone in a blue and white shirt!

10. Where will you finish?

JM: Not sure. Bryan Robson has a lot to prove but if he can bring in the players who are currently linked with the Blades (Kieran Richardson and Thomas Gravesen) then I'm sure that the Blades will be in the top 6 come end of May.

ST: I think we'll have a decent season and finish 4th. As for the Play-offs, who knows?

11. How would you rate Sheffield Wednesday and were will they finish?

JM: Under Brian Laws have done exceptionally well and maybe had he been appointed a few games earlier might have made up the nine or twelve points that would have put them in the play-offs.

Next season will be different and would (along with Leicester City) tip the Owls as dark horses to win promotion via the backdoor.

ST: They had a decent run last season but don't expect them to be as successful this season. I'd love to say they'll finish in the bottom three, but I reckon 14th.