Match Preview: Sheffield United vs. Crystal Palace

Last updated : 18 December 2008 By @blades_mad1889

blades vs. eagles
The Blades come into this fixture having lost their previous three Bramall Lane fixtures against; Reading (2-0), Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-1) and Burnley (3-2) - all top six opposition. However away from home the Blades have seen more joy having picked up points in their previous six games.

But, their away form was almost wrecked last Saturday when Swansea City were the hosts - just two minutes after a 0-0 break striker Darius Henderson was sent off for violent conduct whilst at the other end Jordi Gomez was deemed to have been tripped in the box by Gary Naysmith; Jason Scotland (56 mins) stepped up and converted coolly The game looked lost until three minutes to the end when Chris Morgan chipped the keeper from close range to give the Blades a valuable point.

That sending off for Darius Henderson makes him unavailable over the Christmas period and will miss the fixtures against Crystal Palace (h); Wolverhampton Wanderers (a) and Charlton Athletic (h) and unless United win any possible appeal the former Watford striker will return to selection for the FA Cup Round 3 tie at Leyton Orient.

United arewithout midfielders Gary Speed (back) who is out for the remainder of the season whilst Nick Montgomery (foot) is carrying an injury - striker Billy Sharp (also foot) may return with Henderson unavailable, but should the former Scunthorpe United forward not be fit enough then Danny Webber is likely to play a part.

Sun Jihai could possibly make the substitutes bench; a former Palace defender he was signed in the wake of their relegation from the Premier League in August 1998 but only stayed for one season - rejoining Dalian Wanda where the Eagles brought him from. During his time at Selhurst Park he made 24 (+1) appearances and was red carded twice (at West Bromich Albion and Bradford City) - he also played in the 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane where Lee Morris netted a last minute leveller.

Possible Blades-Line-Up: Paddy Kenny, Kyle Naughton, Chris Morgan, Matthew Kilgallon, Gary Naysmith, Greg Halford, Matthew Spring, Brian Howard, Stephen Quinn, Billy Sharp, James Beattie.


Crystal Palace come into this fixture following a 2-1 home win over Doncaster Rovers; the visitors saw Matt Mills red carded but prior to that they had taken the lead through Paul Heffernan (15) - former Sheffield Wednesday striker Shefki Kuqi (21) netted from the penalty spot and Alan Lee (89) grabbed a very late winner.

Eagles manager Neil Warnock, who was manager at Sheffield United for seven years will return to Bramall Lane without full-back Lee Hills (knee) as well as midfielders Neil Danns (ankle) and Carl Fletcher (back) and forward James Scowcroft (hamstring) due to injury.

The former Nott's County and Huddersfield Town boss was in charge at Bramall Lane between December 1999 to May 2007 were he had saved the Blades from relegation to League One during his first season - he will be fondly remembered for taking United into the Premier League in 2006; finishing in second place behind Reading - and coming straight down at the first attempt.

However no United fan will forget the 2002-03 campaign were he took the Red and White Wizards to the Semi-Finals of the League and FA Cup, only to lose out to eventual winners; Liverpool and Arsenal in close nit games - he also took the Blades to the Play-Off Final in Cardiff, where a poor display ended in a 3-0 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers. During his time at the Lane he took charge of 388 fixture, of which 165 ended in victory and 123 were lost (100 drawn).

Likely to feature is midfielder Shaun Derry and winger Paul Ifill, both of whom have served in United colours, Derry served United between January 1998 to March 2000, having made a £700,000 move from Nott's County. He joined Portsmouth in 2000 for £300,000 having made 73 (+10) appearances and scoring once at Rushden in the FA Cup at Nene Park.

Meanwhile Ifill, who was signed by Mr. Warnock in July 2005 from Millwall for £800,000 scored on his debut in a convincing 4-1 win over Leicerster City and was part of the side that won promotion in 2006. He played just 34 games (+11) and scored 9 goals before making a £750,000 move to Selhurst Park in January 2007.

Possible Eagles Line-Up: Julian Speroni, Nathaniel Clyne, Patrick McCarthy, Jose Fonte, Clint Hill, Leandre Griffit, John Oster, Nick Carle, Shaun Derry, Paul Ifill, Shefki Kuqi.