With yesterday's festivities all but done the Blades will be hoping Santa brings them three points at home to Oldham Athletic today. Sheffield United got over their upset defeat to Walsall on 29th November, thus ending their 15 league match unbeaten run, they have gone from strength to strength, washing away Swindon Town (4-0) and narrowly beating Coventry City (2-1) in what was very difficult conditions under the circumstances.
Billy Sharp struck twice to hand Sheffield United a 2-1 win over Coventry in a game marred by protests from the home fans. The match was twice held up by fans running onto the pitch, briefly in the first half and then for six minutes as the players was taken off in the 86th minute. The interruptions were just the latest in a series of protests against Sky Blues owners Sisu, with the club just one point off the bottom of the Sky Bet League One table after a run of six league defeats.
For the Blades meanwhile, the win takes them up to second, only behind Scunthorpe on goal difference. Sharp put the visitors in front in the 23rd minute when a clearance from Jordan Turnbull went straight to his feet inside the penalty area and he returned a low shot into the corner of the net. The game had already been held up by a pitch invader and the mood threatened to get even uglier but United failed to build on their lead in the first half.
Coventry failed to manage a shot on target before the interval and when they pulled level six minutes after the break, it was thanks to a large deflection off Paul Coutts. Dan Agyei, on loan from Burnley, tried his luck from 20 yards and watched the ball balloon over goalkeeper Simon Moore. The second delay saw fans carrying banners and straight after the resumption, Sharp pounced on a loose ball to seal the win.
Sheffield United pair Stefan Scougall and James Wilson are both hoping to prove their fitness in time for the home game against Oldham. Midfielder Scougall missed last week's win at Coventry due to a hamstring strain, while defender Wilson, whose last league appearance was in early September, has been sidelined with an ankle injury.
On-loan winger Harry Chapman returned to parent club Middlesbrough earlier this month and will be sidelined for up to four months after undergoing ankle surgery. Boss Chris Wilder, whose side are second in the table having won eight of their last 11 league matches, has no new injury or suspension worries.
SHEFFIELD UNITED VS. OLDHAM ATHLETIC
MONDAY, 26TH DECEMBER 2016 - 3:00PM
SKYBET LEAGUE ONE
Struggling Oldham will be looking to walk away with Bramall Lane with at least a point. The Latics are rock bottom of the table and haven't won a league match since beating Scunthorpe 2-0 on 18th October and have only mustered three draws since then. They were defeated in their last fixture, a 2-0 victory to visitors Southend United.
Nile Ranger put aside his off-field troubles to help Southend to a 2-0 victory at Oldham. Ranger, who appeared in court earlier in the week, remained in the Southend starting line-up and gave his team the lead before Jermaine McGlashan sealed the win in the second half.
Struggling Oldham created the first chance of the game as Billy McKay's low drive forced a save from visiting keeper Mark Oxley. But Southend went in front after 18 minutes when Jason Demetriou's pass found Ranger, who cleverly hooked his shot into the top corner from 12 yards. Ryan Flynn fired wide for the home side, while Peter Clarke headed too close to Oxley after escaping his marker.
Southend could have doubled their lead just after the break, but Oldham keeper Connor Ripley turned away a far-post volley by Marc-Antoine Fortune. Ripley, however, was left exposed in the 76th minute as McGlashan raced clean through on goal and although his initial effort was saved, he slotted in the rebound from six yards. Southend are now unbeaten in 10 league matches, while Oldham have managed just one home win all season.
Oldham boss Stephen Robinson admits he may be forced to make changes for the trip across the Pennines. The Latics are without a win in seven league games and remain bottom of the League One table, leaving Robinson to consider rotating his squad over the festive period.
Ousmane Fane will serve the second game of his ban, while Lee Croft could return to the starting line-up in place of Paul Green. Robinson is keen to give Brian Wilson more game-time following his injury troubles, while Anthony Gerrard and Mark Klok will be assessed after being made available for the reserves this week.
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