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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Preview: Sheffield United vs. Blackburn Rovers – prediction, team news, lineups

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Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s Championship clash between Sheffield United and Blackburn Rovers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Blackburn Rovers need to return to winning ways on Wednesday evening if they are to continue their push for an automatic promotion spot, having picked up just two points from their last four matches.

They travel to Bramall Lane this week to face an in-form Sheffield United side, who are looking to extend their unbeaten run to nine games and at least remain in sixth spot.

Match preview

© Reuters

Paul Heckingbottom‘s side enter this encounter on the back of an emphatic 4-0 win over Swansea City on Saturday, which lifted the Blades into the playoff positions.

Morgan Gibbs-White, George Baldock and Billy Sharp had that game wrapped up within the first 40 minutes, but there was still time for Gibbs-White to add to his tally in the second half.

Apart from dismantling Peterborough United in September, that was Sheffield United’s biggest win margin of the campaign, and goalkeeper Wes Foderingham kept his fourth clean sheet in a row.

Heckingbottom’s team have only conceded 11 goals on their own patch this season, suggesting that they will be confident about keeping Blackburn at bay on Wednesday, giving them a strong chance of collecting another three points.

With at least one game in hand on the three other teams currently occupying a space in the playoff positions, a win against Blackburn this week will put the Blades in a powerful position to climb higher up the table and cement a top-six finish.

Blackburn Rovers Manager Tony Mowbray after the announcement that the game has been postponed on February 19, 2022© Reuters

Blackburn were set to face Millwall at Ewood Park on Saturday, but following a late inspection by referee Geoff Eltringham, that match was postponed due to heavy snowfall.

That means Tony Mowbray‘s side did not get the chance to return to winning ways after a goalless draw against West Bromwich Albion just over one week ago, a game where both teams failed to create many entertaining attacking moments.

Rovers have also not found the back of the net in their last four outings, and with Sheffield United’s good defensive record at Bramall Lane, that does not bode well for Wednesday’s visitors.

The third-placed side have returned 12 less points away from home as they have done so from Ewood Park this season, a record that must improve if they are to continue to push for a top-two finish.

Mowbray’s side did secure a 3-1 victory over the Blades in November, when these two sides last met, with the goals coming from Reda Khadra, Ben Brereton Diaz and Ian Poveda for the home team.

Sheffield United Championship form:

Blackburn Rovers Championship form:

Team News

 Sheffield United's Morgan Gibbs-White celebrates scoring their first goal on February 19, 2022© Reuters

David McGoldrick, Jack O’Connell and Rhian Brewster will remain absent from Sheffield United’s squad due to injury, but the trio could all return to action next month.

After such an impressive display against Swansea on Saturday, Heckingbottom could opt for the same starting 11, meaning that Sharp will continue to lead the line, with Baldock and Rhys Norrington-Davies providing width from their wing-back positions.

Gibbs-White, who is on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, is in fine form, and he is certain to start alongside Oliver Norwood, Sander Berge and John Fleck in a midfield quartet.

Key man Diaz will remain sidelined for Blackburn after coming off injured against West Brom, while Tayo Edun, Bradley Dack and Poveda will all be absent due to injury also.

Centre-back Darragh Lenihan will be able to return to the side after serving his one-match suspension, and Harry Pickering and Khadra are also expected to be named in the starting 11.

With Pickering’s return from injury, Ryan Giles is expected to move further up the field, having shown his versatility playing in different roles down the left wing in recent weeks, and the 22-year-old offers a big attacking threat for Rovers.

Sheffield United possible starting lineup:
Foderingham; Robinson, Egan, Basham; Norrington-Davies, Gibbs-White, Norwood, Baldock; Fleck, Berge; Sharp

Blackburn Rovers possible starting lineup:
Kaminski; Pickering, Wharton, Van Hecke, Lenihan; Rothwell, Travis, Khadra; Buckley, Gallagher, Giles

SM words green background

We say: Sheffield United 2-1 Blackburn Rovers

With the return of a few key players from suspension and injury for Blackburn, they may be able to offer a bigger attacking threat than they have demonstrated in recent weeks, which is why they could get on the scoresheet on Wednesday.

However, after an impressive win on the weekend, the Blades are strong favourites for this encounter and are expected to collect three points using their momentum from a great run of results.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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