Match Preview: Middlesbrough v Sheffield United

Last updated : 25 February 2008 By @blades_mad1889

reds vs blades
Middlesbrough faced Liverpool last weekend at Anfield, and whilst Barnsley beat the Reds 2-1 little over a week ago Gareth Southgate's Boro failed to leave Merseyside with the same outcome as Spanish super striker Fernando Torres grabbed his second hat-tick on English soil in a 3-2 victory.

However the visitors took the lead when Tuncay Sanli netted a 9th minute lead but the Reds hit back and found themselves 3-1 down when the Spaniard scored goals in 28th, 29th and 61th minute of the game.

Midfielder Stuart Downing (83) scored scant consolation goal before former Arsenal striker Jeremie Aliadiere was shown a straight red card after an altercation with Javier Mascherano.

The striker will now serve a three-match ban and will sit out the game against the Blades as well as fixtures against Reading and Aston Villa (or Cardiff City).

The Boro came to Bramall Lane in search of a win in a run which as seen the North-East outfit go eight fixtures unbeaten before they travelled to Merseyside, only to draw 0-0 with either side wounding the opposition goal. As for the home side they haven't lost a game since 1 January when Everton shipped two goals without reply at the Riverside.

During that draw at the Lane defender David Wheater picked up his fifth booking of the season and under FIFA rules will serve a suspension that will take him out of contention, Andrew Taylor or Robert Huth (if fit) could take his place.

Turkish striker Tuncay Sanli is lacking match fitness despite his fine displays at the Riverside Stadium, meanwhile Chris Rigott (hamstring) and Lee Cattermole (knee) are both injured.

Possible Boro Line-Up: Mark Schwarzer, Luke Young, Emanuel Pogatez, Andrew Taylor, Robert Huth, Fabio Rockemback, Julio Arca, Gary O'Neill, Stewart Downing, Dong-Gook Lee, Tuncay Sanli.

Sheffield United on the other hand will be hoping for a win at the Riverside, a ground where they have not won at since October 1997 when Dane Whitehouse and Brian Deane (and Mikel Beck) gave the Blades a 2-1 win - however the Blades have only played once since then when they lost 3-1 on New Years Day 2007 in there Premiership campaign.

Blades centre-half Ugo Ehiogu (knee) was injured for the draw against Middlesbrough and although likely to be fit for the tie at the Riverside it's unlikely that the former West Bromwich Albion stopper will make the starting eleven.

Ehiogu, a former England international (4 caps, 1 goal) was signed for £8,000,000 by Bryan Robson when in charge of Middlesbrough. He was signed from Aston Villa in October 2000 and went onto make 142 (+ 10 as a substitute) appearances for the Riverside club and score eight goals before joining Glasgow Rangers in January 2007.

Veteran midfielder Gary Speed (groin) should be fit to feature but on loan right-winger David Cotterill (from Wigan Athletic) is cup-tied after playing, and scoring in Round Three at Sunderland in their 3-0 win at the Stadium of Light.

Possible Blades Line-Up: Paddy Kenny, Derek Geary, Chris Morgan, Matthew Kilgallon, Gary Naysmith, David Carney, Gary Speed, Michael Tonge, Lee Martin, Rob Hulse, Jonathan Stead.