Preston North End vs. Sheffield United

Last updated : 14 April 2011 By @blades_mad1889

United could however complete the double over the Lilywhites after claiming a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane earlier in the season; French full-back Jean Calvé (no longer with the club) scored from the edge of the area with the game’s only goal.

However, with exception to claiming all three points in August 2004 you have to go all the way back to September 1954 since a United side beat North End – in all the Blades have mustered just nine victories at Deepdale in 51 outings (Preston won 25, 17 drawn).

They come into this fixture on back of a 2-0 reserve at home to Cardiff City, who in truth deserved their victory at Bramall Lane but were fortunate with the games opener when a recognisable Craig Bellamy (21) shot inside the area and was stunned to see Steve Simonsen beaten after taking two deflections.

City could have doubled the Bluebirds lead during the first half but Simonsen produced a Premiership save to keep out Bellamy. But they hit United on the break and made it two in the second half; Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (71), on loan from Arsenal finishing at the back post with the keeper in no man’s land.

Blades boss Micky Adams is without a number of players; Johannes Ertl (knee), Ryan France (back) and Andy Taylor (leg) are all missing through injury.

However they welcome back former North End midfielder Lee Williamson who has missed the previous four fixtures against; Leeds United (2-0), Queens Park Rangers (0-3), Middlesbrough (1-2) and Cardiff City through suspension after being sent off at Watford on 12 March.

Midfielder (and Captain) Nick Montgomery is likely to be included in the starting line up for the first time in three matches; he has recently been absent due to his wife giving birth to twins but returned on the substitutes bench in the defeat to Cardiff on Tuesday. Strikers Richard Cresswell (ex-Preston) and Ched Evans may also be available for selection.

Expected Eleven:  Simonsen, Nosworthy, Lowry, Collins, Mattock, Lowton, Montgomery, Williamson, Quinn, Doyle, Henderson.

Lilywhites boss Phil Brown has rejuvenated his side since he took charge around the New Year; back then they were bottom of the table and staring League One football full in the face – now they have the possibility of extending their Championship stay into next season at least.

They faced Doncaster Rovers last Tuesday night at the Keepmoat Stadium, drawing 1-1 to keep hopes of Championship survival alive. It took until the 77th minute until the first goal was scored; Brian Stock finding the net for Rovers until three minutes later former Barnsley striker Paul Hayes levelled for North End – Hayes had only been on the field of play for two minutes after replacing Eddie Johnson.

Preston are likely to be without David Gray, the midfielder is still on crutches after a receiving a knock to his shin during last month’s fixture at Norwich City, whilst defenders Sean St. Ledger and Leon Cort are unavailable through injury.

The Lilywhites could wheel out winger Keith Treacy to face his former club who spent time at Bramall Lane on loan during the 2009-10 Championship campaign.

Expected Eleven: Turner, Knumalo, Jones, Morgan, Carter, Nicholson, Tracey, Ashbee, Johnson, Hume, Brown.