Sheffield United will be looking to complete their league double over city rivals Sheffield Wednesday when they clash in the Sky Bet Championship on Friday.
The Blades have not done a league double over their bitter rivals since the 2005/2006 season. A 1-0 win over Wednesday at Bramall Lane was followed up by a 2-1 away win at Hillsborough.
Chris Wilder’s side sit in 7th place in the Sky Bet Championship having slipped down the table after being the early pace setters with current leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Despite their progression in the FA Cup, courtesy of a 1-0 win over Ipswich Town, Wilder’s men come into the Steel City derby in rather inconsistent form. A win, a draw and a loss coming from their last three Sky Bet Championship outings.
Their latest point coming at Pride Park as they earned a respectable point on their travels. Despite going a goal down to a Matej Vydra penalty, Wilder’s men were able to claw back with the league’s top scorer Leon Clarke bagging yet another goal to ensure the Blades walked away with a point.
United will be able to introduce a trio of new signings to their squad before the derby. The Blades announced the signing of Southend United midfielder Ryan Leonard on Tuesday before just 24 hours later confirming a double swoop. Manchester United striker James Wilson signed on loan for the rest of the season whereas Wolves midfielder Lee Evans joins on a three-and-a-half year deal.
Rivals Sheffield Wednesday find themselves in an unfamiliar position compared to recent years. Back to back seasons of play-off football under former boss Carlos Carvalhal seem so far away for Owls fans.
Wednesday currently sit in 16th but can only be looking upwards after the appointment of new manager Jos Luhukay.
His first Sky Bet Championship test could not come any harder than a derby against their high flying rivals. The Owls have lost their last two in the league and were also held to a goalless draw against Sky Bet League Two side Carlisle United in the FA Cup.
Wednesday’s last victory came against Nottingham Forest back on Boxing Day. Defeats to Brentford and strugglers Burton Albion have only risen the stakes of this Steel City derby.
Luhukay’s men come into the game in what can only be described as an injury crisis. The Owls currently have 11 first team players out injured.
Keiran Westwood, George Boyd and Sam Hutchinson could all return for Wednesday this weekend to help slightly aid the crisis.
These two sides met earlier in the season with the Blades comfortably running out victors at Hillsborough. John Fleck put the visitors in front before Leon Clarke doubled the lead.
Gary Hooper scored in first half injury time before Lucas Jao scored an equaliser with 25 minutes left to play.
However, Mark Duffy would grab the game by the scruff of the neck just seconds after Jao’s goal. Duffy powered home to put the Blades back in control before Clarke added his second to cap off a 4-2 victory for Wilder’s side.