Due to international call-ups the Blades fixture with Preston North End (at Deepdale) due to take place last Saturday was re-arranged – leaving our Johnstone’s Paint Trophy game at Rotherham United the last competitive outing before this all-Sheffield affair.
It ended in victory to the Blades, though they left it very late in what was considered a ‘drab’ performance by Danny Wilson’s side. They took the lead through Chris Porter on 9 minutes, beating Andy Warrington at his far post when on-on-one.
From then on the home side grew stronger but had to wait until 69th minute to level the scores through Alex Revell who appeared unmarked to smash home a rebounded shot. The Millers looked good to then take the lead and win the tie but when referee Garry Sutton added 9 extra minutes due to injury at the end the game looked set to go to penalties. However six minutes into that Ched Evans found a way through and from the edge of the box (with the aid of the post) fired home to set up a home tie with Bradford City in the next round.
United have found life in League One rather obscure compared to the many years spent in the Championship, under new boss Danny Wilson he has brought grass route playing football back to Bramall Lane and has done well to secure the players he has with his hands held tightly behind his back.
There won’t be many players remaining from the United camp which beat the Owls two seasons ago with only Nick Montgomery the likeliest to start. The Blades have hit a dip in form recently with back-to-back defeats against Wycombe Wanderers and Charlton Athletic as well as a thumping at home to Huddersfield Town which ruined what looked like a great start to the season.
It all began at Oldham were two second half goals without reply won the game before registering the same score line at home to Brentford a week later. They did however have to come from two goals down against Walsall to win 3-2 in dramatic style.
They also beat Yeovil Town (1-0), Bury (4-0) and Colchester United (3-0) whilst drawing at Scunthorpe United (1-1) and Tranmere Rovers (1-1) which has set them up into a comfortable sixth place before this weekend’s proceedings.
No doubt the blue half of the Steel City will take pleasure in going into this game already above United, though they have played one more match demand a five point advantage! Though, it’s best remembering that the Wednesday hasn’t finished above United since their top flight days – eleven years ago.
Mr. Wilson could see some new faces within the Blades camp; left full-back Marcus Williams (Reading) has secured a loan deal for yet another month but is likely to lose his place to Lescinel Jean-Francois whilst midfielder Matt Phillips (Blackpool) could join in time to make his debut for the Blades.
With no competition between the sticks Steve Simonsen should keep his place in goal; Academy player George Long played 90 minutes in the Blades last game at Rotherham United in the 2-1 JPT win but is likely to be retained on the bench.
Young Player of the Month for September Harry Maguire will be expected to start at centre-half alongside former Wolves and Sunderland man Neill Collins, he initially made his Blades debut at Hillsborough in February 2006 when United won 2-1.
Defenders Chris Morgan (knee), Johannes Ertl (knee) and Andy Taylor (knee) are all sidelined so expect Matt Lowton to keep his right full-back spot. In the middle of the park captain Nick Montgomery will take his place after recovering from injury and playing his part in the win over the Millers. He could join alongside him Phillips if his deal is completed; failing that Lee Williamson, Kevin McDonald or David McAllister could start.
So could Stephen ‘Ginger Messi’ Quinn if he doesn’t start at left wing, though Richard Cresswell could take that position with Ryan Flynn or Nathaniel Mendez-Laing on the right. In attack should be the two scorers at the Don Valley Stadium – Welsh international Ched Evans and former Derby County striker Chris Porter who we hope will know all of Bywater’s weak spots.
Possible Blades Line-Up...
Lowton Maguire Collins Jean-Francois
Flynn Montgomery (C) Williamson Quinn