Preview: Sheffield Wednesday vs. Sheffield United (Part One)
Updated Saturday, 25th February 2012
Sheffield United makes the very short trip across the City to face arch rivals Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough this Sunday.
United come into this fixture after three straight league victories against Wycombe Wanderers (3-0), Huddersfield Town (1-0) and Preston North End (2-1) which has seen them retain second spot and are five points ahead of Wednesday in third with two games in hand whilst they are seven points adrift of Charlton Athletic in top spot with a one game advantage.
United are expected to be without midfielder Kevin McDonald (hamstring) who was replaced midway through the first half against Preston last weekend through injury. This is likely to mean a starting role for Lee Williamson who netted in this fixture two seasons ago in a 1-1 draw. However Danny Wilson hasn't ruled out the possibility of bringing in a replacement on loan and may do so before this weekends clash.
He has however snapped up out of contract keeper Mark Howard, 25 until summer 2014 after being released by Blackpool and is likely to be handed a place on the substitutes bench. He also lists Arsenal (youth), Cardiff City, St. Mirren and Aberdeen as his former clubs whilst he also represented Falkirk and Swansea City in loan spells.
Striker Will Hoskins could make his full debut for United this weekend, on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion has played 30 minutes of football for United in wins over Wycombe Wanderers (3-0) and Huddersfield Town (1-0) and scored on his debut against the Chairboys; though is likely to retain a place on the substitutes bench.
Blades boss Danny Wilson could field Richard Cresswell against his former club. Cresswell, 34 was signed by the Owls (by Danny Wilson) from York City in March 1999 in a deal worth £950,000. He made his debut in a 3-1 home defeat to Coventry City and scored his first goal for his new club against Liverpool (won 1-0).
He netted just twice the following season as the Owls were relegated from the Premiership and played his last game in August 2000 in a 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers before netting a £750,000 deal with top flight Leicester City. He made just eight (+28) appearances with the Hillsborough club and scored three goals in total. He also lists Mansfield Town, Preston North End, Leeds United and Stoke City as his former clubs.
Blades-Mad Prediction: It will be a tight game and I am sure both sides will be good for a goal, though the Blades good form and clean sheet record should keep them in good stead. The Owls will also be under the cosh to succeed in front of a full house - Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 Sheffield United.