Banner image

Big Match Preview: Sheffield United

Bristol City head to Bramall Lane on Friday night, knowing a win will keep the pressure on Cardiff City and Championship leaders Wolves.

The Robins and the Blades occupy third and fourth in the league respectively and go into the tie level on points.

But while Chris Wilder's side may have the division's top scorer in Leon Clarke, they are winless in their last three games and City are seeking a hat-trick of consecutive victories.

It's set to be a cracking festive encounter to kick off another weekend of Championship football.

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 aim for back-to-back promotions, with the Premier League firmly in their sights.

The club was formed 128 years ago, at the site of what is now the Crucible Theatre. 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 recent praise from City assistant head coach Dean Holden.

His 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 he has guided them to fourth in the Championship as it stands.

Meet the Championship's top scorer...Leon Clarke

STAR MAN - LEON CLARKE

Clarke is in impressive form this season after netting 13 goals in 17 appearances.

The 32-year-old striker grabbed a brace in the Steele City derby, followed by two goals against Wolves. More impressively, it was the Leon Clarke show against Hull City as he scored all four goals in the 4-1 thumping of the Tigers in November. He was also the hat-trick hero against Fulham but still ended up on the losing side in the nine-goal thriller.

He has been labelled as one for City's defenders to watch closely.

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

MEMORABLE FIXTURE - SHEFFIELD UNITED 1-2 BRISTOL CITY

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.

AND FINALLY...

Officials
Referee: David Coote
Adam Matthews and Michael George
Fourth Official: Stephen Martin

Betting (via SkyBet)
City 12/5
Draw 5/2
Sheffield United 21/20