Bristol Rovers Manager Darrell Clarke (l) with coach Steve Yates. Yates is a former defender with Sheffield United.
The Blades trip to Bristol will be equally as the fixture at Peterborough United three days ago. The match at London Road resulted in a 1-0 victory to the Blades, though they had to wait until the final few minutes until Billy Sharp notched his 20th goal of the season.
Three points at the Memorial Ground tonight will be vital ahead of a busy back-to-back home double starting with Scunthorpe United this Saturday, followed by Bolton Wanderers 7 days later. Second placed Scunthorpe face Walsall at home tonight, and Blades fans will be hoping the Saddlers put up an equally stronger challenge as they did against United this season.
Sheffield United left it late to turn their dominance into a 1-0 Sky Bet League One victory at Peterborough. The League One table-toppers squandered a host of chances before Billy Sharp struck from point-blank range with three minutes to go for his 20th goal of the season that extended their lead at the top to five points. Sharp pounced at the back post after strike-partner James Hanson had headed down a cross from the right
It sparked jubilant scenes among a travelling army of almost 4,000 Blades fans at the ABAX Stadium. Chris Wilder's men had looked like drawing a blank with Hanson being denied by Posh goalkeeper Luke McGee either side of half-time. Hanson also fluffed the rebound on the first of those occasions with Daniel Lafferty lashing a follow-up over after the second opportunity. Hanson also headed wide late on, but then turned provider for Sharp to settle the contest in the 87th minute.
Blades goalkeeper Simon Moore was a virtual spectator. His only real task was keeping out a 30-yard drive from Marcus Maddison in the second half. Home debutant Anthony Grant also flashed a long-range blast wide late on for a home side that were short on attacking ideas.
Blades pair Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Paul Coutts are both expected to return to contention. Central defender Ebanks-Landell missed Saturday's win at Peterborough due to a hip problem, while midfielder Coutts also sat it out after turning an ankle in training last week.
Winger Jay O'Shea and defender Joe Riley both made their debuts off the bench at the weekend and are pushing for their first starts. Striker Leon Clarke is still sidelined with an ankle injury as Chris Wilder's table-toppers chase a ninth league win in 12 matches.
BRISTOL ROVERS VS. SHEFFIELD UNITED
TUESDAY, 14TH FEBRUARY 2017
MEMORIAL GROUND - KO: 7:45PM
The Pirates may see themselves as dark horses for the top six. Unbeaten in their last three matches they are 10th in the League One table and three points behind Millwall in 6th. Rovers beat Swindon 1-0 on 28th January and have drawn their last two fixtures with Rochdale (0-0) and Bradford City (1-1) last Saturday.
Goalkeeper Joe Lumley produced a trio of fine second-half saves to earn Bristol Rovers a 1-1 Sky Bet League One draw with Bradford at the Memorial Stadium. The Queens Park Rangers loanee performed heroics to keep out efforts from Tony McMahon, Billy Clarke and Nathaniel Knight-Percival as the visitors pressed for a winner. Rovers took a 15th-minute lead when Chris Lines picked up the ball just outside the right-hand corner of the box and curled an exquisite left-footed shot into the opposite corner of the net.
But the lead lasted only 11 minutes as Charlie Wyke's clever back-heel inside the box allowed Nicky Law to beat Lumley with a clinical finish from 10 yards. Both sides attacked with purpose from the opening whistle, Rory McArdle heading just over for Bradford and Rovers winger Cristian Montano having a goal-bound shot blocked by McMahon in a competitive first half. Bradford had the better chances after the break, but the hosts stood firm thanks largely to Lumley's bravery and agility.
Bristol Rovers will hope to have in-form forward Billy Bodin back in their ranks for Tuesday's visit of Sky Bet League One pacesetters Sheffield United. Bodin missed Saturday's 1-1 draw with Bradford through illness but Rovers will be keeping their fingers crossed the 24-year-old winger, who has scored seven goals in his last 10 appearances, will be fit enough to face the Blades.
If Bodin is not available, then Cristian Montano could deputise again with Ryan Broom another wide option for manager Darrell Clarke, the youngster having replaced the Colombian as a second-half substitute at the weekend.
New defenders Jonny Burn and Bob Harris - a former Sheffield United player - will be looking to make their first appearances for the Pirates having been unused substitutes against Bradford.
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