Bristol City head to Sheffield United in promotion six-pointer


Bristol City and Sheffield United clash on Saturday with both sides knowing how important three points will be to their seasons.

Chris Wilder’s Blades could strengthen their promotion credentials with victory, while Bristol City could return to the Sky Bet Championship play-off spots by obtaining maximum points.

United are the second-most in-form team when playing at home this season, the Blades have dropped points in just two of their ten most recent outings at Bramall Lane.

The last time Wilder’s men tasted defeat was a 1-0 defeat at Swansea City; however, three defeats and seven victories since then have propelled the Blades into the second automatic promotion spot – a point ahead of third-placed Leeds United.

Meanwhile, Johnson’s side could leapfrog Derby County, Preston and Aston Villa into sixth-place should they win and results elsewhere go in their favour.

City have tasted defeat on the road just once in their previous eight fixtures, allowing the West Country side to reignite their hopes of promotion; however, the Reds dropped point in their last outing as they took a point from a 1-1 draw with basement side Ipswich Town.

Team news

United will be without striker Gary Madine as the 28-year-old continues to serve a three-match ban for a straight red card in the win over Brentford before the international break.

Eight members of Wilder’s squad, including centre forward David McGoldrick and goalkeeper Dean Henderson, were involved in international duty but all have returned to South Yorkshire fit and ready for selection ahead of Saturday’s tie.

Callum O’Dowda faces a late fitness check after withdrawing from the Republic of Ireland squad with a knee issue. Goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic hopes to have recovered from a thigh injury to reclaim his number one spot from Max O’Leary.

From the dug-outs

With United’s recent win at Leeds United stretching the Blades’ unbeaten run to ten matches, and firing the Yorkshiremen into the automatic promotion spots, Wilder said:

“In one sense, it’s a shame the break came when it did because we’d built up momentum.

“But it’s also allowed us to regroup and, for those boys who stayed here with us, have a little bit of a recharge and try to refresh.

“It went well,” he said. “Couttsy (Paul Coutts) looks like he’s taken it to another level which is exactly what we wanted to see. Now it’s all about getting through this one and trying to keep the run going because there’s nothing in the table still, nothing at all.”

Meanwhile, Lee Johnson reiterated the importance that his players do not get complacent in their chase for a play-off spot.

“The players had a much-needed and deserved rest,” Johnson said.

“Some of them ventured all over the world, to Dubai and various climates, others stayed at home and enjoyed family time. It was good for everyone to refresh and now we go into a ten-game season.

“It’s been a good week with a lot of football with short, sharp stuff. The key is to make sure they have belief at this point. There’s nothing tactically I can teach them, technically they can’t be improved much so mentality is the key and we have to go for it.

“There are a lot of teams panicking in this division but we’re not one of them. We’re embracing what should be a fantastic last ten games.”


About Author

When not busy covering local news for EssexLive, Matt Lee can be found in the press box at Portman Road covering Ipswich Town's return to the Championship and push for the Premier League.

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