Sheffield United vs. Portsmouth

Last updated : 18 April 2013 By @blades_mad1889

The Blades 1-0 win over Walsall almost a week ago when Nick Blackman (14 minutes) netted his seventh goal of the season after scoring from the penalty spot when Dave Kitson was hauled down in the box, Dean Holden (for the Saddlers) was dismissed in the process. The result kept United third in the table and that result, linked with Stevenage's 0-4 home defeat to Swindon Town and league leaders Tranmere Rovers drew 1-1 with Preston North End leaving the Blades requiring maximum points from tonight's match to go level with the Prenton Park club.

United won the last meeting between the Blades and Pompey two seasons ago at Championship level when on 18 September a Ched Evans free-kick was enough to separate the two teams, though Dave Kitson netted in the return fixture in a 1-0 win.

Blades boss Danny Wilson faces no new injury concerns ahead of tonight's match but will still be without keeper Mark Howard (thigh) whilst striker Dave Kiston (virus) has been struggling but is expected to be available for selection.

"It's not an option to bring anybody else in at the moment which is why it was such a blow to lose Lecsinel Jean-Francois." Danny Wilson told BBC Radio Sheffield, "I'm expecting a tough test because they've put together a quality squad in a very short period of time. I hope Lee Williamson gets a warm reception because he deserves it. If I was in the stands I'd certainly be applauding him. I'm braced for a bump in the road every week but I'm very much aware that we can keep this unbeaten run going."

Meanwhile former Portsmouth striker Dave Kiston is likely to start against his former club, he signed for the Fratton Park club from Stoke City in September 2010, making his debut in a 0-0 home draw with Ipswich Town and scoring his his second outing (at Crystal Palace) despite defeat. During his two year spell he made 60 (+12) appearances and scored 12 goals before relegation last season sent the club into financial disarray and they were forced to axe all of there professional staff.

Blades Likely Line-Up:

25. Long

29. McMahon    5. Maguire    6. Hill    30. Williams

16. McAllister    8. Doyle    11. McDonald    7. Flynn

10. Blackman    14. Kitson

Portsmouth, who haven't won at Bramall Lane since 1955 come to S2 after a 2-1 defeat at Stevenage last Tuesday night - ending a run of five unbeaten league matches which resulted in four wins and propelled the Blues towards the Play-Off pack and are now 18th in the table and six points away from sixth placed Nott's County. Filipe Morias (14 & 61) netted twice for the home side as Boro kept up there automatic position, though the visitors did pull one back through Jon Harley (51).

Blues boss Michael Appleton will be forced to make changes ahead of tonight's match, Bournemouth have recalled Wes Thomas and former Sheffield United and Barnsley midfielder Brian Howard is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season at Boro; Luke Rodgers is likely to start in Thomas' absence alongside Izale McLeod who has netted six goals in the last six matches.

They have a number of ex-Blades who could potentially be wheeled out to face there former club; Jon Harley, Johannes Ertl, Lee Williamson, Brian Howard (suspended) and Izale McLeod could all be included.

Harley spent two successful loan spells at Bramall Lane (October 2002 to January 2003 & September 2003 to October 2003) before signing permanently on a free transfer in June 2004 from Fulham. He initially made his debut in a 3-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest and went onto play a total of 71 (+1) appearances and netted twice for the Blades. He moved to Burnley on loan in August 2005 before making a full £75,000 transfer to the Turf Moor club.

Ertl was released by the Blades this summer after a two year spell with the club, he had signed in a free transfer from Crystal Palace in September 2010 and made his debut in a 1-1 draw at Cardiff City, though injury dampened his career with United he made 30 (+14) appearances without scoring.

Following a successful 3 month loan spell Howard joined United in a permanent transfer from Barnsley in January 2009 and went onto make 32 (+7) appearances for the Bramall Lane club; notching three goals. He joined the Royals in September of the same year.

Williamson was signed by Kevin Blackwell in June 2009 but due to injury (back) didn't make his debut until October, in a 3-0 defeat at Blackpool - he was part of the squad which was relegated from the Championship and played in last May's Play-Off Final defeat to Huddersfield Town before being unable to renew his contract. He left the Lane having made 71 (+18) appearances and scored 20 goals.

Izale Mcleod joined the Blades on loan between March 2004 to May 2004 from Derby County, he started just once as well as making six substitute appearances before returning to Pride Park. He later played for Milton Keynes Dons and a host of clubs before signing for Portsmouth (from Barnet) this summer he scored on his debut in a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth.

Pompey Likely Line-Up:

1. Anderson

2. Dumbuya    16. Gyepes    20. Mighalik    15. Dickinson

3. Harley    7. Williamson    18. Ertl    17. Buzaky

9. McLeod    10. Rodgers

Blades-Mad Prediction: Sheffield United 1-1 Portsmouth

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