The official club website can now bring you a brand new article feature named ‘The Big Match Preview’.
The first of these articles that will be published a day before any first team fixture this season comes ahead of a televised Yorkshire Derby against Sheffield United.
Let’s bring you the low down on The Blades:
Nigel Clough has recruited well in the summer as he looks to make his own stamp on a team which was inherited from David Weir early last season. Ever since their relegation from the Championship in 2011, expectation, particularly from fans and bookmakers will have been high. A big club who were not too long back, a Premier League club, they will surely be looking to make it fourth time lucky at getting back to the Championship. The Blades reached the play-offs two years running (2011-12 and 2012-13) and last season narrowly missed out on the play-offs. Surely, to summarise, nothing less than a top six finish is expected.
Ins and Outs
Experienced Irish centre half Paddy McCarthy (pictured) was recently drafted in on loan from Premier League outfit Crystal Palace to bolster the defensive ranks, a department Clough was probably keen on getting boxed off following the departure of Harry Maguire to Hull City in the summer. Also brought in to strengthen United’s defensive unit: Jay McEveley from Swindon Town, Craig Alcock from Peterborough United, both of whom are full backs; as well as Chris Basham from Blackpool who can operate at centre half or centre midfield.
Well-travelled Jamaican winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce, who scored past City at Meadow Lane on New Year’s Day, was signed from Notts County in the summer. To join him in midfield, Marc McNulty, a 22 year old attacking midfielder brought in from Scottish side Livingston. Brought in during the summer and probably labelled as their main man in the striking department is Michael Higdon, the former Motherwell forward signed from newly relegated Dutch Eredivise side NEC Nijmegen.
Current League Position
United are currently 10th in League One ahead of the weekend’s fixtures and a point outside the play-offs at the moment with 17 points. The final play-off spot held by Chesterfield who defeated the Blades in an action packed match at The ProAct Stadium at the beginning of the month. Clough’s men are currently a point behind the Bantams with a game in hand.
The Bantams frontman James Hanson is still currently an injury doubt with an on-going thigh problem, with Gary Liddle suspended for the game after picking up his 5th yellow card of the season at Barnsley last weekend. New loan signing Jon Stead may come in to make his debut since returning from Huddersfield Town. Stead, of course, was on loan at City at the end of last season.
The Blades forward Michael Higdon is serving the final match of his suspension after picking up a straight red card in the away match at Chesterfield for a challenge on Dan Jones. James Wallace is expected to feature despite being withdrawn in the second half of the latch match (vs Leyton Orient).
Last Meetings with Sheffield United:
Our last meeting with The Blades was a 2-2 draw at Bramall Lane in mid-January. Jamie Murphy gave his side the lead after just 8 minute, converting Tony McMahon’s cross at the far post, and Harry Maguire headed in a second just before the break. Gary Jones’ deflected strike gave City hope 11 minutes into the second half and 7 minutes later James Hanson reacted quickest to George Long’s parry in the penalty area to fire the Bantams level.
Our last meeting at the Coral Windows Stadium resulted in a 2-0 victory against United. Nahki Wells fired City into the lead just before half time after getting the better of Neil Collins before he sealed the three points in the 87th minute with his second of the match.
United’s Recent Form
11/10/14 | Sheffield United 2-2 Leyton Orient | League One | D
07/10/14 | Hartlepool United 1-2 Sheffield United | Johnstone’s Paint Trophy | W
04/10/14 | Chesterfield 3-2 Sheffield United | League One | L
27/09/14 | Sheffield United 2-1 Gillingham | League One | W
23/09/14 | Leyton Orient 0-1 Sheffield United | Capital One Cup – Third Round | W
20/09/14 | Swindon Town 5-2 Sheffield United | League One | L
22 year old Liverpudlian Jose Baxter is probably United’s key player going forward and caused City plenty of problems in the game at Bramall Lane in January, getting the man of the match award and providing the assist for Harry Maguire’s goal. He joined Everton’s youth setup at as a six year old and progressed through to sign professional terms in 2008. He ultimately was only to make a handful of appearances for The Toffees and whilst at Goodison Park he represented England as a schoolboy. Following a loan spell at Tranmere Rovers in 2011-12 he turned down the offer of a new contract at Everton to sign for Oldham Athletic on a permanent basis ahead of the 2012-13 season and he had an excellent campaign with The Latics. He scored 15 goals in all competitions for the club and began the 2013-14 season with 2 in 5 before Sheffield United signed him on a three year deal for a reported £500,000.
Ref Watch – Simon Hooper
Wiltshire based Simon Hooper will referee his first ever Bradford City match this weekend and he has refereed 13 games already this season. The latest being a 1-1 draw between Watford and Brighton & Hove Albion at the start of the month – he dished out 6 yellow cards in that one.
Sky Bet’s odds for the game are as follows, with them having Sheffield United down as favourites for the victory:
Bradford – 17/10
Draw – 12/5
Sheffield United – 6/4