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Sheffield United vs Portsmouth Preview
The two heavyweights of League One meet.
Pompey make the trip to bogey ground Bramall Lane on Monday night to take on Sheffield United live on Sky TV.
Blades manager Danny Wilson is set to name an unchanged side from the team that beat Walsall in midweek.
Wes Thomas has been recalled by Bournemouth and Brian Howard is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season at Stevenage. Therefore Luke Rodgers could make a return to the starting XI alongside Izale McLeod whilst there will be a place in midfield up for grabs.
Portsmouth have not had the best of times at Bramall Lane. They have not won at the home of Sheffield United since 1955 and face a difficult task to end that record with the Blades currently unbeaten in the league.
The defeat at Stevenage was hard to take given how well Pompey played during the game but with Howard out and Thomas gone, it will be interesting to see how Michael Appleton copes with the loss of two key players.
It is expected that Luke Rodgers will start alongside McLeod up front whilst I believe that Lee Williamson will replace Howard in centre midfield against his former club, with Mustapha Dumbuya coming in at right back.
It's about time we saw what Williamson is really capable of. The former Sheffield United man has been a big disappointment since he signed for Pompey but if he is to play in his preferred central midfield role then perhaps he will finally play to the best of his ability against the team he left in the summer.
Of course, Williamson isn't the only player to be playing against his former club tomorrow. A certain Dave Kitson signed for the Blades this season and will be itching to score against the club that used to employ him.
Given how much abuse he took from Pompey fans during his unsuccessful stay at Fratton Park he is surely nailed on to score tomorrow.
There are plenty of other former United players that will play for Pompey tomorrow. Jon Harley, Izale McLeod and Johnny Ertl all donned the red & white striped shirt at one time in their career and Brian Howard would have been another to play against his former club had he not been suspended.
Hopefully one or two of them can make their mark but this will be a difficult game and one where I can't see Pompey keeping a clean sheet because of the pace that Sheffield United have out wide and up front, not to mention the Kitson factor.
It would be superb if the Bramall Lane bogey could be buried tomorrow night, but I am struggling to see it happening. A draw would be a good result here.
Click here for the League One Lowdown on Sheffield United.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: George LONG
RB: Tony McMAHON
CB: Harry MAGUIRE
CB: Matt HILL
LB: Marcus WILLIAMS
RM: David McALLISTER
CM: Michael DOYLE
CM: Kevin McDONALD
LM: Ryan FLYNN
CF: Nick BLACKMAN
CF: Dave KITSON
GK: Mikkel ANDERSEN
RB: Mustapha DUMBUYA
CB: Gabor GYEPES
CB: Lubomir MICHALIK
LB: Carl DICKINSON
RM: Jon HARLEY
CM: Lee WILLIAMSON
CM: Johnny ERTL
LM: Akos BUZSAKY
CF: Izale McLEOD
CF: Luke RODGERS
Last Time: Sheffield United 1 Portsmouth 0 (Championship - 18/09/2010)
Pompey had the better of this game but succumbed to yet another Bramall Lane defeat after Ched Evans' deflected free kick gave Gary Speed's team the win.
Speed sadly took his own life last year whilst Evans was sent to prison for five years for rape. How quickly things can change in football...
I can see Sods Law coming into full effect here once again. Dave Kitson is bound to engineer the winner, it's written in the stars.
Sheffield United 2 Portsmouth 1
Source: Fratton Faithful
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