Preview: Sheffield United vs. Sunderland

Preview: Sheffield United vs. Sunderland

Sheffield United play host to Sunderland in the Championship on Wednesday evening with both teams having endured a mixed start to the campaign.

However, while the teams have just two victories between them from their opening three matches, they occupy ninth and sixth position respectively in the standings.

When Sheffield United succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Watford in their opening game, Paul Heckingbottom would not have necessarily been too downhearted knowing that one of their toughest games of the calendar was already out of the way.

That said, the Blades needed to respond in their following fixtures, something which was achieved with four points coming from games against Millwall and Middlesbrough.

There will be a sense of frustration having twice let slip a lead in the latter of those matches, but Heckingbottom will be content with occupying ninth spot at this stage.

Sheffield United now face a home double-header with a vulnerable Sunderland side and leaders Blackburn Rovers, the opportunity being there to make quick headway up the table.

While goals currently appear to be an issue, Heckingbottom will feel that his frontline will start firing once they have more minutes under their belt.

As far as Sunderland are concerned, they remarkably find themselves in a position where they will be disappointed with only collecting five points from their first three games back in the division.

The Black Cats have twice given up leads at the Stadium of Light, Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Queens Park Rangers being particularly frustrating having seemingly been on the way to maximum points and a clean sheet with five minutes left.

Instead, Alex Neil witnessed his team concede twice, the second of those goals coming from the head of QPR goalkeeper Seny Dieng who had made his way up for a corner.

Although the Scot will try to find the positives, he knows that his players, particularly in defensive areas, need to show more character if they are to be considered contenders for the playoffs this season.

Sheffield United Championship form:
LWD
Sheffield United form (all competitions):
LWLD
Sunderland Championship form:
DWD
Sunderland form (all competitions):
DWLD

We say: Sheffield United 2-1 Sunderland
While Sunderland sit higher in the table, losing points from winning positions on two occasions will not do anything positive for their confidence. With that in mind, we are backing the Blades to come through this contest with the win, even if they are made to work for it by the visitors.

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