nPower League 1
Saturday 16th March 2013
The Lamex Stadium, Stevenage
Kick Off: 3pm
Weather Forecast: Light rain, 5°c
Referee: M Russell (Hertfordshire)
Stevenage FC are back at home again this weekend when second-place Sheffield United are the visitors to The Lamex Stadium.
Last time we met:
Shaun Miller scored twice as United ran out comfortable 4-1 winners over Boro in the corresponding fixture at Bramall Lane in November. Neill Collins headed Ryan Flynn's cross into the net from inside the box to hand the Blades an early lead. Miller almost doubled the lead when his shot was saved by Steve Arnold before Mark Roberts headed in from Filipe Morais's corner to make it 1-1. Two close-range strikes from Miller on his first league start put Blades 3-1 up and Chris Porter headed in a fourth.
Boro: Arnold; Gray, Roberts, Charles, Hills; Risser, Tansey (Freeman), Dunne (Grant); Akins, Morais, Haber (Agyemang)
Subs not used: Day, Comminges, N’Gala, Shroot
Stevenage welcome back James Dunne from suspension but both Darius Charles and David Gray are out with bans. Bondz N’Gala could go straight into defence after a successful loan spell at Barnet whilst Dani Lopez, fresh from a hattrick last weekend for the Bees, is also vying for a place up front.
Jamie Murphy and Jonathan Forte have recovered from knocks for Sheffield United who also have striker Chris Porter back from his loan spell at Shrewsbury. Mark Howard, Shaun Miller, and Lecsinel Jean-Francois are out.
The Sheffield United Scout Report
Sheffield United are second in League 1 with 65 points after winning 17 wins, 14 draws and 5 defeats from their 36 games to date.
The Blades are unbeaten in their last seven games, during which they’ve won against Shrewsbury (2-1), Bury (2-0), Colchester (3-0), Bournemouth (1-0) and Oldham (2-0) whilst picking up points from goalless draws against Leyton Orient and MK Dons. Their last defeat was a 2-1 home reverse to Coventry on 1st February whilst their last defeat on their travels was at Brentford back in late November.
Danny Wilson’s men have the third best away record in the division with 10 wins, six draws and just two defeats from their 18 games on the road, during which they’ve scored 23 and conceded just 12. They’ve also picked up three away wins in cup competitions against Bristol Rovers, Oxford and Notts County.
Possible Sheffield United line-up for Saturday (4-4-2 formation):
George Long; Tony McMahon, Neill Collins, Harry McGuire, Matthew Hill; Michael Doyle, Barry Robson, Kevin McDonald, Ryan Flynn; Dave Kitson, Jamie Murphy
Subs from: Danny Higginbotham, Jonathan Forte, Darryl Westlake, Dominic Poleon, Joe Ironside, Callum McFadzean, Danny Coyne, Chris Porter
Since the departure of top scorer Nick Blackman to Premier League Reading, much of the goal scoring responsibility at Bramall Lane has fallen on the shoulders of Dave Kitson. The experienced front man has struck four times in the past six weeks alone, three of which have helped secure victories, as the Blades continue their quest for automatic promotion after missing out in last year’s playoff final. After spells in non-league football with Hitchin and Arlesey, the 33-year old striker first came to prominence in the early 2000s after a successful time at Cambridge United. 47 goals in 123 appearances earned him a move to Reading where he scored 54 times in a four and a half year spell during which the Royals were promoted to the Premier League. Subsequent spells at Stoke, Middlesbrough and Portsmouth followed before he joined United in late August.
• The man in the middle on Saturday will be Mick Russell from Hertfordshire. He took charge of Preston’s 1-0 win at Notts County in midweek and has so far this season issued 82 yellows and four reds in 39 games.
• James Dunne and Lucas Akins could make their 35th starts of the season against Sheffield United and Greg Tansey his 30th.
• Dani Lopez is set to make his 5th appearance for Boro.
• A goal for skipper Mark Roberts will be his 25th for Stevenage. To date he has scored 24 goals in 228 games for the club.