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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Friday, May 4th 2018

Big Match Preview: Sheffield United home

City are looking to end their season on a high with the visit of Sheffield United to Ashton Gate on Sunday (May 6th, 12.30pm kick-off).

The curtain closes on the 2017/18 campaign this weekend, with a top-half finish guaranteed for Lee Johnson's side.

A final win this weekend would also secure a league double over the Blades, who suffered a 2-1 defeat thanks to Jamie Paterson and Aden Flint strikes at Bramall Lane back in December.

FACTFILE

Formed: 1889
Nickname: Blades, Red and White Wizards
Website: www.sufc.co.uk
Twitter: @SUFC_Tweets
Ground: Bramall Lane
Capacity: 32,702

Honours:
Division One / Premier League: winners – 1897/98
Division Two / Championship: winners - 1952/53
Division Three / League One: winners - 2016/17
Division Four - League Two: winners - 1981/82
FA Cup: winner - 1899, 1902, 1915, 1925

Last season:
League One: 1st
FA Cup: Second round, lost to Bolton Wanderers
EFL Cup: First round, lost to Crewe Alexander
Top scorer: Billy Sharp, 30 goals.
Average attendance: 21,892.

HOW DID THEY GET HERE?

Sheffield United are one of only a handful of clubs to have won all four divisions of the English Football League, after they lifted the League One trophy at the end of last season.

The Blades are now back in the Championship and flying high as they aimed for back-to-back promotions. The Premier League wasin their sights until recent results meant the play-offs would no longer be possible.

The club were formed 129 years ago, at the site of what is now the Crucible Theatre - the home of the World Snooker Championships. They enjoyed early successes in the late 1880s and at the turn of the 20th century.

The 1970s are considered the Blades' dark days following their relegations down the divisions, reaching the fourth tier by 1981 before a revival under manager Dave Bassett.

They were one of the original clubs to feature in the re-branded Premier League for the 1992/93 season but they suffered a financial crisis at the turn of the millennium. It wasn't long before they returned to the Premier League - their final appearance in England's top tier to date coming in the 2006/07 season.

Blades boss Chris Wilder

MEET THE GAFFER - CHRIS WILDER

Wilder has been pivotal to Sheffield United's rise up the EFL ranks, earning praise from City assistant head coach Dean Holden earlier in the campaign.

Wilder's playing career spanned between the mid 1980s and the early noughties and included a number of clubs such as Sheffield United (twice), Rotherham United, Brighton and Hove Albion and Halifax Town.

He tried his management hand at Alfreton Town - where City defender Aden Flint started out - before spells at Halifax Town, Oxford United, Northampton Town and his return to Bramall Lane in 2016.

He oversaw their promotion from League One in his first season and came close to back-to-back promotions before the a Championship play-off spot became unattainable. 

Leon Clarke joins Bobby Reid in chasing the Golden Boot award

STAR MAN - LEON CLARKE

It’s been a fantastic season for the well-travelled frontman, who has been named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year alongside City’s own Bobby Reid.

With 18 goals to date, including two hat-tricks, the 33 year old is also chasing the Championship’s Golden Boot and has made his club’s shortlist for Player of the Season.

Clarke, who spent three seasons with United’s city rivals Wednesday between 2007-2010, arrived at Bramall Lane in 2016 from Bury following a long-established career with the likes of QPR, Swindon Town, Charlton Athletic and Coventry City.

He has scored 143 goals in over 450 club appearances since starting his career with Wolves in 2003.

Aaron Wilbraham headed in the opener the last time City travelled to Bramall Lane

MEMORABLE FIXTURE: SHEFFIELD UNITED 1-2 BRISTOL CITY

Sky Bet League One
Saturday, August 9th 2014.

Goals: Aaron Wilbraham 20'; Michael Higdon 32'; Wade Elliott 72'.

City kicked off their double-winning 2014/15 season with a 2-1 away victory at Bramall Lane.

Wilbraham nodded City ahead after 20 minutes but the home side drew level through Higdon as he latched his own head onto a free kick.

But Elliott smashed in City's winner mid-way through the second half as City recorded the season opener with all three points.

City: Fielding, Ayling, Little, Williams, Flint, Cunningham, Elliott, Smith, Freeman, Baldock, Wilbraham.

Blades: Howard, Alcock, Harris, McGahey, Basham, Davies, Flynn, Reed, Scougall, Higdon, Murphy.

Attendance: 19,889.

AND FINALLY...

Officials
Referee: Peter Bankes
Timothy Wood and Daniel Leach
Fourth Official: Brett Huxtable

Betting (via SkyBet) - Odds correct at time of writing
City 7/5
Draw 12/5
Sheffield United 9/5

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