Big match preview: Sheffield United v Ipswich Town – everything you need to know

John Fleck celebrates scoring in Sheffield United's 4-2 win at rivals Sheffield Wednesday last month

John Fleck celebrates scoring in Sheffield United's 4-2 win at rivals Sheffield Wednesday last month. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Ipswich Town take on Sheffield United in a Championship clash at Bramall Lane this afternoon. Here’s all you need to know.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder is chasing a third successive promotion. Photo: PA

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder is chasing a third successive promotion. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy is not surprised to see Sheffield United sitting third in the Championship table.

The Blades claimed 100 points on their way to the League One title last season and have carried that form into the new campaign, winning seven of their opening 11 matches.

With their side playing some entertaining football and having lost just twice at Bramall Lane this calender year, fans are daring to dream of back-to-back promotions.

Manager Chris Wilder is personally chasing three successive promotions having won the League Two title with Northampton prior to taking over at his boyhood club last summer.

In-form Ipswich Town striker David McGoldrick has been passed fit following a tight hamstring. Photo

In-form Ipswich Town striker David McGoldrick has been passed fit following a tight hamstring. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

“They’ve done brilliantly,” enthused McCarthy, speaking ahead of his side’s game at Bramall Lane this afternoon.

“I tipped them before the season. With the momentum they had and the signings that they’ve made and the size of club they are, I thought they’d be coming up to thrive not just survive. I did fancy them and it’s proving to be right.”

• Watch Chris Wilder’s rant about ‘disrespectful’ Norwich

Centre-back Tommy Smith returns to the first team squad today. Photo: Steve Waller

Centre-back Tommy Smith returns to the first team squad today. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

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Southampton and Norwich have both enjoyed quickfire promotions to go from League One to the Premier League this century, with McCarthy continuing: “Wolves almost did it too, missing out on the play-offs by one goal to us (2014/15) after coming up. I think Sheffield United might be of a similar ilk. Chris has obviously got something with his two promotions back-to-back – that’s not luck.

“He’s got good players really working hard for him. I watched them at Bolton (1-0 away win) and was very impressed. We’re going to have to play well to beat them, I’ve got no doubts about that.”

Today sees the renewal of an unlikely rivalry that grew organically during the late 90s and 00s. Sheffield United became dubbed ‘The Norwich of the North’ by Blues fans following a series of feisty affairs kick-started by a play-off semi-final defeat for Town in 1996/97.

Town striker Joe Garner faced Sheffield United severeal times during his time in League One with Pre

Town striker Joe Garner faced Sheffield United severeal times during his time in League One with Preston. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

It’s also a clash between two sides yet to draw a game this season.

“Of course we want more consistency, but I’ll take winning one and losing one as supposed to last year when we had 16 draws,” said McCarthy. “While we’ve got that ability to win games – which we have – then I’ll take that as well. We’re going to score goals against teams.”

• Town ready for October acid test, says McCarthy¶

Opposition lowdown

Team name: Sheffield United

Nickname: Blades

Manager: Chris Wilder (May ‘16) – P65 W40 D11 L14

Form: LWWLWWWLWLLWW

Last game: Nottom Forest (a) L 2-1

Last home game: Wolves W 2-0

Top-scorers: Leon Clark, Billy Sharp (4)

Most assists: Enda Stevens (4)

League ever-presents: Jemal Blackman, Jack O’Connell, Paul Coutts, John Fleck (11)

Bramall Lane capacity: 32,702

Position last season: 1st in League One

• Town have gone from draw specialists to all-or-nothing

Ipswich Town team news

• Adam Webster could make his first start since recovering from a reoccurring ankle injury. Fellow centre-back Tommy Smith, who has also been sidelined for much this year (back/hamstring), is back in the squad after two U23 outings.

• Flynn Downes is available again after missing the last three games with a thigh problem, while fellow teenage midfielder Tristan Nydam has been passed fit after suffering a minor groin strain on international duty with England U19s.

• Tom Adeyemi remains sidelined with the hamstring injury he sustained during the warm-up against Bristol City, while Emyr Huws continues to struggle with the Achilles problem which has sidelined him all season.

• Teddy Bishop is training well and could be close to a return after recent groin surgery, while Andre Dozzell and Luke Hyam remain long-term absentees.

• Blues boss hoping for defensive improvements

Sheffield United team news

• Right wing-back George Baldock sustained a calf injury in the recent 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest. He should be replaced by the fit-again Kieron Freeman.

• Paul Coutts, who has been a key man in midfield, serves a one-game suspension.

• Ched Evans has recently had ankle surgery, fellow strikers Billy Sharp and Clayton Donaldson are short of match fitness.

• Like our Facebook page for all the latest Blues news

Stat attack

• Sheffield United’s league record at Bramall Lane in 2017 reads: P16 W12 D2 L2

• Town’s record in the month of October since the start of 2012 reads: P23 W1 D12 L10

• Town’s record post international breaks under Mick Mccarthy reads: P17 W3 D8 L6

One to watch

David Brooks The 20-year-old skilful forward, who was released by Man City at 16, is being tipped for the very top after just a handful of first-team outings. He terrorised Sheffield Wednesday recently and has been called up by Wales’ senior side. Loves a nutmeg.

Betting

Sheff Utd (5/6)

Draw (29/10) Ipswich Town (9/2)

Referee

Tony Harrington (Cleveland) Games: 11, Yellows: 44, Reds: 2

Last meeting

Ipswich Town 3 Sheffield United 0

Date: Saturday, February 5, 2011

Damien Delaney, David Norris and Connor Wickham were all on target, Grant Leadbitter saw a penalty saved, while the Blades had both Rob Kozluk and Liam Williamson sent off late on. Tamas Priskin and Gareth McAuley had netted in a 2-1 win at Bramall Lane.

Stuart’s prediction

Sheffield United 2 Ipswich Town 1

Town will be a threat on the counter, but Blades look very strong at home.

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