Preston North End vs Sheffield United - Preview

Brad

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Two teams tipped for promotion to the Championship go head to head on Saturday at Deepdale.
Preston North End, who sit 3rd in the league table, have won 2 and drawn 2 of their first 4 games. Simon Grayson will hope his men can extend to 5 games unbeaten in the league.
Nigel Clough's Sheffield United come into the fixture mid table, after 2 vital wins making up for their 2 losses. While Preston were knocked out 3-1 at Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup, Sheffield United drew 1-1 against West Ham at Upton Park, managing to eventually win 5-4 on penalties after a painfully tired 30 minutes of extra time.
Preston North End have won 48 games against Sheffield United in their history, while The Blades have managed just 33 against The Whites. In more recent times, last season, Preston beat The Blades 1-0 at Bramall Lane, and drew 0-0 at Deepdale.

Preston's Bailey Wright (groin) was missing for the league cup exit against Middlesbrough and could miss out again. Andy Little and Paul Gallagher should return for The Whites, while Kyel Reid (knee) and Lee Holmes (chest) are expected to 100% miss the fixture.
Only one Sheffield United player is expected to miss the game which is Bob Harris through an ankle injury. Jamie Murphy and Michael Higdon could return to Nigel Clough's first team with James Wallace still chasing his full match debut after being subbed on against West Ham.

Sheffield United could be expected to play a variation of 4-2-3-1, although with striker McNulty hitting form with the Blades, this could face manager Clough to change the formation to 2 strikers up front with new signing Michael Higdon rejoining the first team after dropping to the bench vs West Ham.

Preston played a 4-2-3-1 formation against Oldham last weekend, but fielded a 4-3-3 vs Middlesbrough midweek in the cup. With Gallagher returning, manager Simon Grayson could change back to a 4-2-3-1 formation.

I'm expecting a tight match with both teams taking their opportunities when they come by, although both defences will be solid. I predict a 1-1 draw, Garner scoring for Preston and in-form Baxter grabbing the Blades' goal.
 

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