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Sheff Utd Preview

By: Richard Hubbert
Date: 11/09/2001

WELL! Who would have thought it? After Town's amazing 1-0 success at Highfield Road on Saturday, Town will be out to do exactly the same at Blundell Park on Tuesday against a Sheffield United side that have neither won nor lost in the league the season.

Home > 2001-2002 Season > Previews > Sheff Utd (h)

The Opposition

Despite the obvious "no fear" factor in Town's play at the moment, there is no way Town can expect Sheffield United to be an easy team to beat. Despite not recording a win in the league so far (or indeed a loss!), the Blades are a team that always provide a stern test.

Neil Warnock was appointed back in 1999 and after saving his hometown club from relegation in the 1999/2000 season, he guided his team to the top half of the table, last term. This season Warnock will undoubtedly want his team to make an impression in a very competitive league and on paper, he has a good set of players who might just deliver the goods

The Squad

The vastly experienced Simon Tracey (left) is generally though of as Sheffield United’s number one keeper. Tracey has spent 13 years at Bramall Lane after being signed by Dave Bassett back in 1988 for a bargain £7,500 and has enjoyed over 300 appearances for the Blades. He now faces very strong competition with new signing Wilko De Vogt who is somewhat an unknown quantity after arriving from abroad in the summer, however people close to the club believe he will fight Tracey very hard for the number one shirt.

Many of Sheffield United’s defensive performances have been aided by the presence of the vastly experienced Keith Curle (left) who was signed in July 2000 in a player/coach role. This has enabled the former Manchester City and Wolves man to pass his knowledge on to the younger players at the club. Welsh international centre half Robert Page has added to the solidity and experience already in the Blades defence after joining on a loan deal from first division rivals Watford. Page was left in the cold by new Waford boss Gianluca Vialli, who made the former Hornets captain surplus to requirements. After joining the Blades, Page has impressed Neil Warnock with some assuring displays at the heart of the defence. He is joined by full back Terry Phelan who is also on loan. On the opposite flank is ex Derby youngster Rob KozlucK.

Olympic bronze medal winner Shaun Murphy (left) was former manager Adrian Heath’s first signing in 1999. Since then Murphy has gone on to receive several accolades from his manager Neil Warnock, whom he played for when at Notts County. After a brief spell back in his native Australia, Murphy returned to England and last season built a solid partnership with Blades captain Lee Sandford. Sandford, who joined the Blades in 1996, is a fans favourite who is sure to always give 100% at the back with commanding performances from the word go.

Tigerish midfielder Michael Brown (left) was Neil Warnock's first signing for the club back in the 1999/2000 season when he joined for a £450,000 fee from Manchester City. The battling midfielder, whom is a former England under 21, will play a major part in the clubs push for success this season. This can also be said for combative midfielder Bobby Ford, whose battling skills play an important part of the Blades midfield. After signing from cash strapped Oxford United for £400,000, Ford has gone on to shine in the Blades midfield and is well liked by the fans.

One player whose speed and menacing runs will haunt many defences this year will be former Coventry and Birmingham man Peter Ndlovu (left). The Zimbabwe international was snapped from under the noses of rivals Huddersfield last season and will this season be hoping to make a good impression after a couple of stop start seasons. Whether he will be used on the wing or as an out and out centre forward is anyone’s guess.

Another player who can operate in a variety of roles is Paul Devlin (left). The ex Birmingham man was signed for a bargain £200,000 and has gone on to use his pace to good effect down the right flank, giving Towns Tony Gallimore a torrid time at Bramall Lane last year. Ex WBA and Tranmere anchorman George Santos is a player whose physical presence makes him difficult for the opposition to get the better of. Santos is a player who can also operate in many different positions, often filling in at centre back in times of need.

Up front, the Blades have many options including former Reading, Brentford and Gillingham striker Carl Asaba (left) who was signed from Gillingham on transfer deadline day for a mere £95,000. Asaba possesses tremendous pace and ability to lead the line whilst having a fantastic scoring record. Boss Neil Warnock will be expecting lots of goals from the striker who is desperate to make a mark in the first division.

Likewise does Laurent D'Jaffo (left) who linked up with his ex-Bury boss Neil Warnock in February last year after joining from Stockport County for £100,000. The French striker is a player who fits into Warnock's style of play, being one of many six footers in a squad that is strong in presence, which will make it very difficult for Town to contend with. One person in the Blades side that is not the tallest is journeyman Paul Peschisolido who signed in the summer after being released by Fulham. Peschisolido has an excellent track record, playing his trade with Stoke, Birmingham, WBA, Fulham and Norwich before his switch to Yorkshire.

Recent Form


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WBarnsley(h) 1-0
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Town Team News

  • Menno Willem's one match ban now comes into place and will miss the Worthy Cup clash. His replacement is likely to be Wayne Burnett.
  • David Beharall is once again cup-tied and will be replaced by on loan centre half Marlon Broomes
  • Lennie Lawrence could be tempted to rest Jon Rowan and replace him with Mike Jeffrey, but is likely to persevere with the Jevons/Rowan partnership that has served so well so far this year.

  • Sheff Utd Team News

  • Boss Neil Warnock has a fully fit squad to choose from and will name the same team that got a draw at home to Bradford City on Saturday.

  • Expected Line Ups


    TownSheff Utd
    Danny Coyne
    John McDermott
    Tony Gallimore
    Marlon Broomes
    Paul Groves
    Alan Pouton
    Stuart Campbell
    Danny Butterfield
    Wayne Burnett
    Phil Jevons
    Johnny Rowan
    Simon Tracey
    Guus Uhlenbeek
    Terry Phelan
    Keith Curle
    Shaun Murphy
    Bobby Ford
    Michael Brown
    Paul Devlin
    Peter Ndlovu
    Laurent D’Jaffo
    Carl Asaba
    Bradley Allen
    Mike Jeffrey
    Ben Chapman
    Robbie Busscher
    Ronald Ermes (GK)
    Phil Jagielka
    George Santos
    Paul Peschisolido
    Shane Nicholson
    Wilko De Vogt (GK)

    Recent Meetings

    Last season Town lost both games against the Blades. Firstly a 3-2 loss at Bramall Lane, in a game which saw a flurry of yellow cards and a red one for Town skipper Paul Groves. A Marcus Bent brace for the Blades and a goal from George Santos cancelled out David Nielsen and Steve Livingstone’s goals for Town, while a dour game at Blundell Park ended in a 1-0 Sheffield United win. This was a massive anti climax for Town fans, who poured through the Blundell Park gates after Town won their last three games. Town fans may remember Lennie Lawrence’s post match interview, which included one or two harsh words about his players!

    Sheff Utd Head-to-Head (95th on The Opposition Ladder).

    Prediction For Game

    Well, who would bet against a Town win after their fantastic recent form? I certainly won’t and so I’ll go for a 3-2 victory for the Town!

    Fishy prediction: 3-2 to the Mariners. Reader's POMs


    Click on the link for directions to Blundell Park.

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