Football – England – League One
Tuesday 5th February 2013 – Kickoff: 1945hrs
Sheffield United know they will need to put in a good performance at Bramall Lane on Tuesday night when they take on mid-table Crawley Town as they are in danger of slipping out of the top six on the back of some disappointing results.
The Blades have not won a League One match now for five matches and they will now be very aware of other teams such as Yeovil Town and Coventry City breathing down their necks; their last home win was on Boxing Day when they beat lowly Scunthorpe United 3-0 but since that win they’ve succumbed to three straight defeats at their usually fortress-like Bramall Lane at the hands of bottom club Hartlepool United, in-form Yeovil Town and Coventry City by 2-3, 0-2 and 1-2 scorelines respectively.
Away points at Doncaster Rovers and Notts County have just about kept their heads above water in terms of remaining in the top six but they desperately need all three points here tonight to consolidate their play-off ambitions.
Sheffield United’s home record stands at 6-6-3 24/17 and they will now need to do without the services of former leading goalscorer Nick Blackman (11 goals, 6 assists) who recently moved to Premier League Reading in the transfer window, but The Blades still have the likes of striker Dave Kitson (6 goals, 2 assists), Ryan Flynn (3 goals, 6 assists) and Tony McMahon (2 goals, 5 assists) in their locker. Forward Chris Porter will now need to step up in the absence of Blackman.
United will also be hoping that Crawley’s away form against top six sides continues in it’s current state as The Red Devils have been defeated at Swindon Town 0-3, Brentford 1-2, Bournemouth 0-3 and Tranmere Rovers 0-2 along with a 1-3 loss at Coventry City, it appears that the visitors have problems dealing with the top clubs on the road.
Crawley Town’s away record stands at 6-2-6 14/20 and despite their three recent away wins from their last nine on their travels, let’s remember these were at Hartlepool United, Stevenage and Portsmouth where none of them have won more than four home matches all season.
But United would do well to keep an eye on Crawley’s joint-leading goalscorers Nicky Adams (7 goals, 6 assists) and Billy Clarke (7 goals) who represent their main attacking dangers, and Jonathan Forte has left for the hosts Sheffield United and is expected to face his former team-mates tonight.
With two sides going into this match on the back of indifferent form, I have to give the edge to Sheffield United here not just because they have home advantage but they recently turned over Crawley at their place just before Christmas in a 2-0 win and with the incentive of needing a win to consolidate their play-off place, I’ll go for a win for Sheffield United – giving the quarter ball of course. 2-1 to United.
Pick: Sheffield United AH-0.25 @ 1.72 Pinnacle