Sheffield United lay mid-table and are just four points away from top six despite losing their last two fixtures. But whilst the gap remains small mathematically, the reality is that the Blades look far from a side capable of reaching the play-offs. Things can change however but positive results must come quick.
Having won by three goals to nil earlier in the season at Bramall Lane, Sheffield United hold slightly the upper hand. Fleetwood was able to exact revenge when the two sides met in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and following a score-less 90 minutes at Highbury, the game was won by the hosts on penalties.
Burton extended their lead atop Sky Bet League One to four points after Luke Akins second-half goal lifted them to a 1-0 victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. Akins netted four minutes after the interval with a cool finish as the Brewers put daylight between themselves and nearest rivals Wigan, who could only draw at Millwall. The visitors were given an early scare, however, when Blades striker Billy Sharp had a header cleared off the line by defender Phil Edwards.
Burton responded almost immediately at the other end with Calum Butcher's powerful drive forcing United goalkeeper George Long into a neat save down to his left. The lively Mark Duffy then found himself through on goal after a neat reverse by Edwards but again Long was equal to the shot, tipping it wide of the post. Long, though, was beaten in the 49th minute when Akins ran on to a defence splitting pass from Damien McCroy and slotted the ball into bottom right corner.
Akins could have doubled the lead following a mix-up between Collins and Long but the Blades custodian recovered and parried away a stinging drive from the goal scorer. Akins went close again but, in a second half of few chances, both sides found themselves bogged down in a midfield battle. United substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin missed the target with a point blank header late on as Burton held on for all three points.
Sheffield United midfielder Dean Hammond will return to contention after serving a two-game ban for reaching 10 yellow cards. But fellow midfielder Martyn Woolford could be side-lined for longer than expected due to an ankle injury sustained in last weekend's defeat at Rochdale. Another midfielder, Florent Cuvelier, will be assessed after being withdrawn during Tuesday night's home defeat to Burton, while defender Alex Baptiste, on loan from Middlesbrough, could make his first start for the club.
Teenage midfielders Dominic Calvin-Lewin and Ben Whiteman are hoping to feature again after both stepped off the bench in the second half against the Brewers, the latter making his first senior appearance.
Fleetwood midfielder Antoni Sarcevic is doubtful for the home game against Sheffield United due to a groin problem. Sarcevic was forced out of the midweek home win against Gillingham at half-time and will be monitored. Boss Steven Pressley has no other major new injury concerns but defender Conor McLaughlin (thigh) has missed the last three games and remains doubtful. Defender Stephen Jordan and midfielder Tyler Forbes (both hamstring) will be assessed having been side-lined for two matches and skipper Nathan Pond (thigh) is still out.
Blades-Mad Prediction: Fleetwood Town 1 Sheffield United 2