Preview: AFC Bournemouth vs. Sheffield United

By @blades_mad1889
Last updated : 14 December 2011

The Blades extended their unbeaten run to five straight wins last Saturday when three goals without reply were enough to beat Rochdale. Two goals from Ched Evans (39 & 64 minutes) put this seasons tally up to 13 domestic goals, whilst Richard Cresswell (57) added to the score line.

Previous United had beaten; Oxford United (3-0), Carlisle United (1-0), Chesterfield (1-0) and Torquay United (3-0) with Evans notching eight goals – the win kept the Blades fifth in the table whilst Rochdale slipped into the relegation zone.

Defender Marcus Williams (Reading) played the last of his two month loan spell against Dale last weekend; this may have been extended which if so would be eligible to face the Cherries this weekend.

Striker James Beattie may be handed his first team debut in his second spell at the club after joining on a free transfer little over three weeks ago – prior to signing for the Bramall Lane club he had been training with Bournemouth.

Bournemouth claimed their first victory at the Galphalm Stadium since 1992-93 campaign when Harry Arter (19) struck to hand the Cherries a deserved win at Huddersfield Town who are seemingly on the slide since losing their 43 unbeaten league record.

Cherries boss Lee Bradbury is expected to be without Joe Partington (back), Shaun McDonald (groin), and Mathieu Baudry (hamstring) and on loan Tottenham Hotspur full-back Nathan Byrne (hamstring) through injury.

The Cherries are likely to field full-back Simon Francis who is currently on loan from league leaders Charlton Athletic to face his former club. He was signed by Neil Warnock (along with Andy Gray) from Bradford City in March 2004 in a £200,000 transfer fee.

He made his debut in a 2-1 defeat at Cardiff City but played little games due to injury despite showing promising form – he was sent out on loan to Grimsby Town and Tranmere Rovers during his spell at the Lane and was allowed to leave in June 2006, signing for Southend United.

He made his final Blades appearance in April 2006 in a 1-1 draw at Luton Town with United already securing promotion to the Premier League days earlier. He made a total of 8 (+7) appearances without scoring during his Lane career.

We’ve met before...

The last time the Blades and the Cherries both took to the field in battle came in our glorious Second Division season of 1989/90 where that day at Leicester City will stick long in the memory for years. Against Bournemouth they completed triple victories when at Bramall Lane (28 April) they recorded a 4-2 victory whilst away (11 Nov) had won 1-0. Sandwiched in-between had been United’s 2-0 home win in the FA Cup.

An interesting note to make whilst researching this fixture was that our first four meetings with AFC Bournemouth (1981 to 1983) all ending in draws; the early three all 0-0 whilst the latter was a 2-2 draw at the Lane. Also the Blades have never lost away from Bramall Lane against these opponents – our only solo defeat was on 15 August 1987 with the Cherries coming away with a 1-0 win.








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