Still high flying Sheffield United host Gary Monk’s lowly Birmingham City in this mid-week Sky Bet Championship fixture.
Despite losing a closely fought contest at Ashton Gate to Bristol City, Sheffield United are going in to this game on the back of three impressive victories out of four.
Whilst the defeat was disappointing, and somewhat unjust according to manager Chris Widler, the boyhood blade will be hoping his side can get back to winning ways when they take on a Birmingham City side that are one of only five teams in the English Football League without a league win yet this season. Sheffield United go in to the game 5th in the league with four wins from seven, with defeats coming only against other teams occupying the playoff places.
The Blues however have been left frustrated in recent weeks. Gary Monks side have taken the lead in two of their previous three games and yet failed to win any, this run includes throwing away a 2-0 victory to a so far disappointing Nottingham Forest. Despite this, Birmingham City have proved a difficult side to actually take three points from, only actually losing two games so far this season.
No new injury updates have come about since the loss to Bristol City – however, one player who will be looking to gain back his starting place is Scottish playmaker John Fleck.
Despite unfair criticism, it is unlikely John Lundstram would feature if Fleck is to be available. It was clear to see Chris Wilders side lacked that spark in midfield on Saturday and the return John Fleck would be very welcomed.
Another player hoping to be in contention is fellow midfielder and fan favourite, Paul Coutts. Despite not being in the matchday squad against Birmingham City, the playmaker played 90 minutes for Sheffield United U23s on Monday afternoon against Nottingham Forest as he looks to build back up his match fitness.
Birmingham City manager Garry Monk will be wondering how often he can ask the same players to dip into their energy resources this week with two trips to Yorkshire in four days.
On Saturday it’s off to Championship pacesetters Leeds, giving Monk the headache of if and when to make changes to a team that is functioning well at the moment but which cannot play all 46 games.
Options are limited, with very little proven Championship experience to come into the side, so any ‘freshening up’ comes with a risk.
- Sheffield United have only beaten Birmingham City once in all competitions in the last seven encounters – that win dates back to March 2009
- The Blues have scored 13 goals against Sheffield United over the last six games in all competitions
- Sheffield United haven’t lost to Birmingham at Bramall Lane since March 2000
Sheffield United 3 – 1 Birmingham City
Despite being a hard team to beat, I feel Sheffield Untied will be looking to get back to winning ways quickly and I feel it is more than possible against a winless Birmingham side. Chris Wilder will not let his players get complacent and will demand a whole lot more from the side that failed to capitalise last weekend at Ashton Gate. On the other hand, the feature of John Fleck could sway the tie; but I back Sheffield United for this one as I feel the force of Bramall Lane will guide them to victory. 3 – 1.
Picture Credit: Sheffield United