Preview: Huddersfield Town vs. Sheffield United
Updated Monday, 13th February 2012
Sheffield United step their feet into West Yorkshire to face Huddersfield Town at the Galphalm Stadium on Valentine's Day - will their be romance in the air for the Blades?
They were frustrated in the first half after failing to turn attacks into goals as they went into the break goal less. They had to wait until 66th minute to take the lead, substitute Will Hoskins capitalized on a defensive error following Michael Doyle's through ball to score a debut goal with his first touch of the ball. The game was made safe when Ched Evans (73) turned in a crowed box to fire home and the lead was further stretched when Kevin McDonald's (90) shot from the edge of the area took a deflection and spun past keeper Niki Bull; 3-0.
The result lifted United to third in the table and just one point behind second placed Sheffield Wednesday with two games in hand after the Owls lost unexpectedly (2-1) at Exeter City. The Red & White Wizards face our City rivals at Hillsborough in twelve days time.
Blades boss Danny Wilson will be without striker James Beattie for this forthcoming fixture with the Terriers. He was dismissed on 21 January in a 0-1 defeat at Charlton Athletic and has already missed the defeat to Birmingham City (0-4) in the FA Cup as well as last Saturday's fixture at home to Wycombe Wanderers. Had the League One fixture at Colchester United gone ahead 10 days ago the former Rangers and Everton striker would have served his suspension but will have to wait until Saturday at home to Preston North End to be eligible for selection.
Meanwhile midfielder Nick Montgomery is expected to return to the side after recovering from an ankle injury.
Huddersfield Town will be looking to claim a double victory over United after their 3-0 win at the Lane last September - the victory forged part of their 42 Football League record of unbeaten games. It was finally ended by Charlton Athletic in late November and since then the Terriers have won four matches in the previous ten matches (prior to last weekend).
This magnificent run has been largely down to striker Jordan Rhodes who has scored 29 goals to date this season; recently he netted four goals in a match against Sheffield Wednesday (drew 4-4) and Wycombe Wanderers (won 6-0) at Hillsborough and Adams Park. They were forced into a 10 day break when last Saturday's clash at Leyton Orient was postponed due to a frozen pitch.
Terriers boss Lee Clark is expected to be without skipper Peter Clarke; he has been ruled out for up to six weeks after having surgery to repair a double hernia - Sean Morison (on loan from Reading) will take his place alongside Jamie McCombe. Gary Roberts is also recovering from a hernia operation whilst Danny Ward (ankle) remains doubtful.
Keeper Alex Smithies (knee) has been absent from the side for ten months through injury has recently completed three full fixtures but may struggle to take the gloves off former Sheffield United stopper Ian Bennett. Meanwhile strikers Lee Novak, Alan Lee and midfielders Anton Robinson, Damien Johnson and Joey Gudjonsson and defenders Anthony Kay, Nathan Clarke, Calum Woods, Tom Woods all featured in their reserve team fixture last week and are likely to be involved against the Blades.