Preston North End vs Sheffield United Preview: Blades look to sharpen up at Deepdale

Sheffield United come into this weekend's game without a win in four games whilst Preston North End will look to make it six games in a row unbeaten.

Preston have been in rich form as of late, winning three of the last four, whilst the Blades have struggled for a win since losing robust midfielder Paul Coutts last month to injury.

Sheffield United can feel hard done by after losing to a 90th minute goal against Bristol City last week after dominating most of the game, it took the sending off of Blades midfielder John Fleck for City to eventually take all three points home. 

This means the dynamic duo of Fleck and Coutts that has been an integral part of Sheffield United's success over the last year will be absent from this Saturday's game.

Whilst Preston come fresh out of a 2-1 away win against Burton Albion, a game they deserved to win as they outplayed their opponents before letting a late consolation in on the 93rd minute.

Alex Neil impressed by Blades so far

Preston manager Alex Neil has spoken highly of this weekend's opposition, telling journalists, "I think they've been very competitive. I've seen them live quite a few times this season and also watched quite a few of their games this week.

"Having watched the last three or four games, I think they can feel really hard done by they haven't picked up more points.

"Paul Coutts being missing is a big problem for them," claimed the Scottish manager, "John Fleck being suspended is another issue for them so when you lose some of your better players it becomes more difficult and this will be a testing time for them."

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has the added headache of Cameron Carter-Vickers, as Tottenham Hotspur have considered recalling him to the Premier League. 

Speaking to journalists, Wilder confirmed that the Blades had held talks with Spurs about Carter-Vickers future and that he is confident of keeping the 19-year-old centre-back at Bramall Lane for the remainder of the season. 

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Head to head

Preston have drawn the last three home games against Sheffield United in all competitions whilst the Blades are undefeated in their last five away games at Deepdale.

Team news

Daryl Hogan came off of the bench for Preston last week injecting some much needed pace putting the game into their favour, he could start this week but expect him to play the 'super sub' role once more, meaning Callum Robinson and Tom Barkhuizen are the obvious starters on the wing.

Tommy Spurr and Greg Cunningham look to return to training this week whilst Sean Maguire remains sidelined.

There are no fresh injury concerns for Neil's side, whilst Wilder has to contemplate a new midfield.

It is expected that David Brooks will fit into midfield to replace the suspended Fleck in a slightly deeper role than he is used to, whilst  John Lundstram should keep his place after slotting into Coutts' position.

Billy Sharp has been misfiring as of late and with Clayton Donaldson impressing as of late off of the bench after a hamstring injury he could be brought in up top.

Meanwhile Ched Evans and Kieron Freeman remain sidelined with injuries.