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.
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 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.
Sheffield United Championship form:
Blackburn Rovers Championship form:
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.
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
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.