It’s a top of the table, local derby six-pointer on Saturday as Sheffield United make the short trip north to Elland Road to play Leeds United in the early kick off at 12:30pm.
The Blades are unbeaten in nine games having won five of their last six, putting them on 71 points in 3rd place. Despite this, their 2-0 midweek victory over Brentford was relatively fortunate, with the home side only having 30% of the possession and 10 shots to their opponent’s 29. The game before that on Saturday was another local derby, which also ended in a 2-0 victory over Rotherham.
Leeds have been in fine form over the last three games having scored 8 goals and conceded none in victories against Reading, Bristol City and West Bromwich Albion respectively. Their performances have left them sitting second only to Norwich in the EFL Championship table on 73 points.
Leeds were the victors back in December as they ran away from Brammall Lane with a 1-0 win. The Blades will be looking to prevent Leeds doing their first league double over them since 1992.
Leeds have a slight edge in the head to head statistics, having won 30 of their 81 match-ups, as opposed to Sheffield United’s 28. There have also been 23 draws between the two sides.
Having come away from last years trip to Elland Road 1-2 winners, The Blades will be hoping to win consecutive matches there for the first time since 1961.
Sheffield United front man and local hero Billy Sharp has scored 3 goals in 4 away appearances at Elland Road, and will be hoping to add to that figure on Saturday.
Sheffield United will be without striker Gary Madine whilst he serves a suspension after being sent off in the first half against Brentford for a dangerous tackle on Ezri Konsa. Defender Jake Wright is back in training following an injury but is unlikely to feature at this stage.
Opponents Leeds are without midfielders Kemar Roofe and Adam Forshaw who are both recovering from Knee Injuries, whilst goalkeeper Jamal Blackman is out for the season with a shin injury.
Sheffield United will likely go unchanged from their victory in midweek, barring the suspended Madine who will likely be replaced David McGoldrick, who scored late on against Brentford:
Baldock, Egan, O’Connell, Basham, Stevens;
Leeds are unlikely to change the formula which has been so successful is propelling them into the automatic promotion spots:
Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Alioski;
OPPOSITION KEY THREAT:
The Spanish attacking midfielder has been in fine form in recent weeks, having scored three goals in his last three games. This put the 31-year-old on 10 goals to add to his 11 assists for the season, making him the 8th highest in the league for goal contributions, and the number 1 midfielder in the league in this department.
WHAT DO THE BOOKIES THINK?
Skybet list Leeds as the favourites for this one, with the home advantage playing a part. They are listed at 21/20.
A draw is considered the next most likely outcome with odds of 23/10.
The Blades are the underdogs going into the fixture at 5/2
It will be no secret to either manager, set of players and fans just how important this game really is. A huge local derby, combined with the fact it is so significant in the race for automatic promotion confirms this game as potentially the biggest and most important game of the season. If Leeds win, they can pull away from The Blades in the race but if Sheffield United are victorious they will leapfrog Leeds to second place. With the table so tight, this game could feasibly decide which of the two teams plays in the forever sought after Premier League next season.