Bournemouth aim to get their automatic promotion hopes back on track with a trip to promotion rivals Sheffield United


Bournemouth could move one step closer to a return to the Premier League with a win against a Sheffield United side aiming to hold on to a play-off spot.

Both sides enter this contest with promotion in mind, with any slip-ups in the final run-in likely to hinder hopes of top-flight football next season.

The Cherries’ bid for the top two took a hit in midweek with a 2-0 defeat to mid-table strugglers West Bromwich Albion. Scott Parker’s side still maintain a respectable cushion with two games in hand over the team below in Huddersfield, however, with six points separating the two sides.

The Blades look to build on their victory against their play-off rivals QPR on Tuesday, courtesy of Oliver Norwood’s early strike. Paul Heckingbottom’s revitalised side boasts an impressive record at home this campaign, with an unbeaten run stemming back to October.

Such a run has seen the team pick up 27 points out of 36, making Bramall Lane one of the most difficult places to come in the Championship.

United’s difficulties instead have been on the road, with their last win dating back to early February with a 2-1 win against Birmingham City. The Blades have since picked up just two points on their travels, with defeats to Millwall, Coventry and Stoke hindering a push for automatic promotion.

Automatics is instead in the hands of Bournemouth, with the early kick-off giving the side a chance to extend their lead over third-placed Huddersfield to nine points with just seven games to play.

Whoever drops points in this contest will be keeping a watchful eye on the rest of the weekend’s fixtures in this tense run-in for promotion. 

Team News

The hosts could welcome the return of Billy Sharp after returning to training, while Chris Basham is set to miss out.

Striker Oli McBurnie is also expected to feature this weekend after playing through illness in the midweek win over QPR. 

There are no fresh injury concerns for the visitors either, with forwards Junior Stanislas and Kieffer Moore making progress but unlikely to be in the team for this weekend. 

Views from the managers

Paul Heckingbottom 

The Sheffield United boss is adamant that their job is far from over with sights set on a return to the top-flight.

“We’ve done nothing yet but in terms of being happy where we are – satisfied, not happy because that will come at the end of the season hopefully. There’s got to be a focus and a hunger and if you see that you’re relaxed and I enjoy it. 

“This league’s unreal in lots of ways, the amount of games, how close it is, how competitive it is but you know what, the league we want to get into is even harder. It’s just the way it is and if you want to manage and you want to improve things it is non stop, you just got to keep pushing all the time.”

Scott Parker

Following their 2-0 defeat to the Baggies on Wednesday, Scott Parker spoke on the importance of bouncing back in order to secure promotion.

“This is where we are now – eight games left, this is a bad result for us, of course it is, and we now need to bounce back.

“We’ve been in this position for, we’ve had a bad result and we’ve always reacted in the right way. I have no doubt my team and my players will do that again.”


Bournemouth came out on top when these two sides last met back in October. Morgan Gibbs-White’s opener just shy of the hour mark was quickly followed by a quick-fire double by the Cherries. A Dominic Solanke penalty and Philip Billing strike ensured all three points went to the hosts.

This contest has taken place throughout the divisions in the past decade, with meetings in League One and the Premier League a mere two years ago.

Nevertheless, it is Sheffield United who have come away winners more often than not. The Yorkshire side have beaten Bournemouth five teams out of the last seven meetings, with the Cherries’ victory earlier on in the season being their first win against this weekend’s opponents since 1987. 

This time around, however, Bournemouth will be confident in securing the double against the Blades.

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