The first ‘Steel City derby’ for over five years takes place on Sunday, as Sheffield Wednesday play host to rivals Sheffield United. The game will be live on Sky Sports at 1.15pm.
Both sides have made good starts to the season. Sheffield United sit in sixth place in the Championship. This is their first season back in the division since 2011. Meanwhile, Sheffield Wednesday lay in ninth place, just two points and three places behind their close rivals.
After a winless first three games to the season, Sheffield Wednesday’s form has taken a turn for the better. Wednesday were denied a third consecutive win last time out, as a late Sol Bamba goal saw the points shared with Cardiff. The Owls have won their last two home games, beating Nottingham Forest (3-1) and Brentford (2-1).
Sheffield United were beaten for the first time in four games last time out, as Norwich City took all three points with a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane. Prior to that, the Blades had won four in a row, including two impressive away wins at Sunderland (2-1) and Bolton Wanderers (1-0).
Sheffield Wednesday could welcome back midfielders Almen Abdi and Sam Hutchinson to the matchday squad. Abdi has been missing since the end of August with knee and abductor injuries, whilst Hutchinson has missed the last seven with a knee injury. Club captain Glenn Loovens is also in contention for a return but Fernando Forestieri (knee) and George Boyd (shoulder) are both ruled out.
Sheffield United strikers James Hanson and Caolan Lavery are ruled out of Saturday’s clash, but manager Chris Wilder refused to disclose much information. This means strikers Billy Sharp, Clayton Donaldson and Leon Clarke could all be missing for the Blades, leaving them with one fit striker in Ched Evans. Midfielder Paul Coutts is available for selection after the FA took no further action following an off the ball incident in last weeks 1-0 defeat to Norwich. (Sky Sports)
HEAD TO HEAD
These fierce rivals have gone into battle 140 times since its first ever fixture in 1891. However, there is nothing to split the two sides, with both sides coming out victorious on 48 occasions. It is the first meeting between the pair since February 2012. Sheffield Wednesday were the victors that day, winning a goal to nil courtesy of a Chris O’Grady goal. (11v11)
With the likely absence of club captain and key goalscorer Billy Sharp, I struggle to see how Sheffield United will be able to get anything from Hillsborough and believe it will be a step too far. However, they shouldn’t feel disheartened as their start to the season has far exceeded expectations.