Colchester United host Sheffield United at the Weston Holmes Community Stadium in what is set to be an intriguing encounter.
The league’s out-of-form side Colchester United host the Blades who are looking to go six games unbeaten away in the Sky Bet League One.
Kevin Keen’s U’s will, meanwhile, be trying to put an end to a poor run of form which has seen them draw one of out of their last eight league matches, a 1-1 draw at Oldham Athletic.
Last time out in the league, Colchester United battled for a point, despite have the chances to pick up more, against a resolute Oldham. Rhys Murphy put the hosts ahead after just five minutes but Chris Porter’s 81st minute strike brought the U’s back level.
The Blades played out a thrilling 3-3 draw on Tuesday at The DW Stadium against Wigan Athletic, coming back three-nil to secure a point in the dying minutes. Will Grigg (16’), Haris Vuckic (43’) and Chris McCann (66’) put the hosts in the ascendancy but a determined Blades side brough the scores level through Matt Done (68’), Billy Sharp (75’) and Matt Done again in the final minute of normal time.
Keen will be wary of Done – who was named in the Football League Team of the Midweek – following his superb performance against the Latics on Tuesday as well as looking out for Billy Sharp, who could be extremely influential for the Blades.
Sheffield United’s manager, Nigel Adkins, will need to make sure George Moncur is controlled throughout the ninety minutes. The U’s midfielder scored for Colchester in their Emirates FA Cup 3rd Round tie against Championship side Charlton Athletic, just one of his ten goals all season.
Have met in the league for the last four consecutive seasons, during which the Blades have won six, drawing three whilst the U’s have won only once, a 3-2 win earlier in the season at Bramall Lane.
The U’s on-loan goalkeeper Jake Kean is likely to make his league debut after signing from Norwich City prior to Saturday’s impressive FA Cup win over Charlton Athletic, former Blade Chris Porter is expected to lead the hosts’ attack, alongside Marvin Sordell.
Darren Ambrose will compete for a place after returning from illness, however George Elokobi (hamstring) and Sammie Szmodics (foot) continue to miss out. Tom Lapslie will also sit out the fixture after picking up a knock in training this week.
Nigel Adkins announced that he expects to see a clean bill of health prior to his squad departing for Essex on Friday afternoon. Paul Coutts could return to action after being rested mid-week whilst Che Adams, Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Martyn Woolford all hope to start after performing well from the bench on Tuesday.
Views from the dug-outs:
Colchester boss Kevin Keen;
“I think they’ve changed a little bit since that game, a few new personnel, they [The Blades] have had a bit of a mixed season but they’re still up there by the play-offs and they need points for a different reason.
“It’s a fantastic effort from them [Sheffield United] to come back from three-nil down [Wigan Athletic 3-3 Sheffield United] it’s a really big effort and will give them a boost going into Saturday.”
Sheffield boss Nigel Adkins;
“Colchester are potentially very dangerous opposition, as we know from experience.
“It is the next game and that means it is an opportunity for us to keep moving up the table with a positive result, but out performance will have to be at a high level as it has been in recent weeks.
“These players don’t know when they are beaten, they won’t give up and at the business end of the season that is a fantastic mentality to have, hopefully it will grow even stronger in the coming weeks.”