Sheffield United face Blackburn Rovers in battle for Championship play-offs

Written by George Barton

Sheffield United are facing Blackburn Rovers in their second meeting this season. The Blades are hoping to continue their campaign, after an impressive 4-0 thrashing of Swansea City that saw them climb to sixth in the Championship.

Manager Paul Heckingbottom gave his assessment of Blackburn’s performance this season, saying: “They’re a really dangerous team, they’ve scored goals and have a clear way of playing the way Tony [Mowbray] sets them up. They’re very forward thinking and dangerous when they regain the ball, which is where most teams are at their most vulnerable.

He continued: “We know they’re going to be a threat and very well organised, it’s going to be a tough night for us at Bramall Lane, but we’re ready for it. We know how we want to play and we just have to bring our best game, while obviously respecting the threat Blackburn bring.

Sheffield Wire United Blades Swansea Jacks

Image from Sheffield United FC

When asked whether Sheffield United’s players saw Wednesday’s as an opportunity to showcase their development since their 3-1 defeat at Ewood Park last November, Heckingbottom said: “We’ve obviously looked at it, but I think if you’re going to speak about Blackburn, that game is a great example of showing how dangerous they can be in those changeovers of possession”.

He added: “They’re not going to change [their tactics] because it’s a massive threat, and they’re very, very good at it, arguably the best in terms of countering and being very fast in transition”.

Speaking on whether the remainder of the season would become a ‘survival of the fittest’, the Blades manager said that he thought that description could be applied to every Championship season. He said that squads could change “at the drop of a hat”, highlighting how the team has had to adapt due to injuries sustained by key players, including striker David McGoldrick, who he announced could be ruled out for the season due to a surgery for a thigh tear.

He said: “At the back end of January, we were saying how we’ve got the squad how we want it, and now that’s gone out the window. It’s just a case of preparing your team and making sure players are prepared to do their bit”.

Other injury updates included that both Rhian Brewster and Jayden Bogle would be expected to be out for the rest of the season, due to a hamstring and knee injury respectively. Heckingbottom was hopeful that Chris Basham, George Baldock and Rhys Norrington- Davies would be fit to play against Rovers, but could give no concrete promises.

Only four points separate the two teams, and despite recent struggles – with only two wins in their last eight games – Rovers are still fighting for a promotion spot in third place.

Sheffield United v Blackburn Rovers will take place at Bramall Lane on Wednesday 23rd February. Kick-off is at 7:45PM.

Written by George Barton

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