Southampton themselves are facing battle against relegation and a win against the Blades at the St Mary's Stadium tomorrow could keep the South Coast side in the Championship for the 2008-09 campaign at possibly the expense of Sheffield Wednesday.
The Saints travelled to the Hawthorns last Monday night were only a win for West Bromwich Albion would win the Baggies promotion to the Premier League after a two year absence. In the end a 0-0 draw was enough to effectively secure promotion to the Premier League for the Midlands side - only goal diffeence could rob them of a place in the top flight.
The relegation threatened club could see duo Gregory Vignal and Alexander Ostlund return to the battle after both overcame their injuries. Ostlund featured in the Saints 0-0 reserve draw with Queens Park Rangers last week whilst Vignal has returned to full training.
Though they do have quite an injury list mounting up with; goalkeepers - Bartosz Biallowski (thumb), Kelvin Davis (dead leg) and Michael Poke (ankle), defenders - Claus Lundekvam (ankle), Andrew Davies (fractured cheekbone) and Chris Makin (hip).
Former Sheffield United striker Vincent Pericard could feature against the Blades; the Cameroon forward came to United on a three month loan from Portsmouth in September 2005 - he made just three (+8) appearances and scored twice in two 4-0 victories over Millwall (a) and Luton Town. He is currently on loan from Stoke City.
Defender Chris Lucketti could feature against the Blades this Sunday - the ex-Preston defender is on loan from the Bramall Lane club and it is understood that he is eligible to play and there is no recall clause in his loan agreement.
To date Lucketti has made 17 (+4) appearances and netted once (at MK Dons this season) since he signed for the Blades from Preston North End in April 2006.
Possible Saints Line-Up: Richard Wright, Jermaine Wright, Chris Perry, Darren Powell, Andrew Surman, Jason Euell, Youssef Safri, Inigo Idiakez, Mario Licka, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Stern John.
Veteran midfielder Gary Speed netted a brace in a 2-1 victory over Bristol City in the final league game at Bramall Lane this season to keep their chances of making the top six in tacked - they had to come from a goal down after Michael McIndoe (25th minute) slotted home a spot kick after Ugo Ehiogu fouled Dele Adebola in the box.
Four minutes later the Blades levelled when Gary Speed headed home Michael Tonge's corner and in the second half Gary Speed (55) finished off a United penalty following a needless handball by goal scorer McIndoe.
Just two minutes into that game against the Robins; United saw striker James Beattie limp off with a pulled muscle and replaced by Rob Hulse - the former Everton and England forward may be fit for this Sunday and could even make the starting eleven.
Defender Ugo Ehiogu (pulled muscle) also was withdrawn early due injury and was replaced by on-loan winger Lee Martin (ankle ligaments) who has also picked up an injury and will miss the game at the St. Mary's Stadium. Former Glasgow Rangers and Aston Villa defender Ehiogu may be fit for the long trip to the Saints.
The Blades will be without skipper Chris Morgan who serves the last of a two match suspension, he will be made available again should the Blades reach the play-offs (we hope!) or failing that at the start of next season.
Former Southampton and England forward James Beattie could start upfront for the Blades; the 22 goal striker was bought for £1,000,000 by the then Dell club in July 1998 from Blackburn Rovers, he spent seven and a half years with the Saints before moving to Everton for £6,000,000 in January 2005.
During his time with the Saints Beattie notched up a total of 188 (+45) starting appearances whilst finding the net on average once every three games with his 76 goal tally. In October 2002 he netted his first professional hat-trick in the Saints 4-2 (took 26 minutes) victory over Fulham.
Possible Blades Line-Up: Paddy Kenny, Derek Geary, John Halls, Matthew Kilgallon, Gary Naysmith, David Cotterill, Michael Tonge, Gary Speed, Jonathan Stead, Billy Sharp.
:: Last Five Meetings ::
at St. Mary's Stadium...
- 28.12.2005 - Saints 0-1 Blades
- 06.01.2002 - Saints 1-0 Blades (FAC)
- 02.10.1993 - Saints 3-3 Blades
- 27.02.1993 - Saints 3-2 Blades
- 11.01.1994 - Saints 2-4 Blades
:: Man in the Middle ::
Referee: Phil Joslin (Nottinghamshire)
Assistants: D. Coote & B. Malone
Fourth Official: K. Hill