Huddersfield Town kick things off in the Championship this weekend as they host Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Although the Terriers are unbeaten in their last 13 games in all competitions, Carlos Corberan’s side have drawn four of their last six Championship fixtures, with three of those games that many expected the Spaniard’s team to win.
Huddersfield currently sit in fifth place, with a four-point advantage over Saturday’s opponents, although the visitors have three games in hand.
Sheffield United currently possess the fourth-best away record, while the hosts head into the fixture with the fifth-best home record in the Championship.
The Blades sit 10th in the league, but are just one point off sixth placed Nottingham Forest. They have won four of their last six Championship games, beating West Bromwich Albion earlier on in the week thanks to a Billy Sharp double.
For the hosts, Chelsea loanees Tino Anjorin and Levi Colwill are expected to be absent due to injury. Pipa could play a part, with Town boss confirming the Spaniard joined full contact training this week.
Centre-back Ben Davies is ruled out with a minor injury, with assistant manager Stuart McCall confirming in his pre-match press conference that David McGoldrick is expected to miss out with an injury sustained last time out.
Huddersfield Town: Nicholls; Turton, Pearson, Leeds; Thomas, Hogg, O’Brien, Toffolo; Sinani, Koroma; Ward
Sheffield United: Foderingham; Basham, Egan, Robinson; Bogle, Norwood, Berge, Baldock; Ndiaye, Jebbison; Sharp
Ones to watch
The 30-year-old forward has enjoyed an incredible renaissance season, spearheading Carlos Coberan’s sides hopes of promotion back to the topflight. Ward is already in double figures for the season in terms of goals and is Town’s leading goal scorer with Danel Sinani on half the amount the Englishman has scored. With Sorba Thomas expected to start in the Yorkshire derby, don’t bet against the Welshman providing for Ward.
After overtaking David Nugent and becoming the Championship’s all-time leading goal scorer against Birmingham City , the striker could be crucial to Sheffield United’s hopes of returning to the Premier League come the 2022/23 season, similarly to Danny Ward for the Terriers. In 21 league appearances this campaign, the 35-year-old has 11 goals and six assists, often the Blades’ most potent attacking threat and don’t bet against him to score come Saturday.
Sheffield United suffered defeat at the hands of Huddersfield Town earlier on in the season in a dramatic showdown at Bramall Lane. Josh Koroma’s 75th minute goal gave Town the lead, with Billy Sharp equalising in the second minute of stoppage time. Bizarrely, Levi Colwill found himself in the opposition penalty area where the defender tapped home in the 94th minute.
This meeting was the first between both sides since May 2012 in the League One Play-Offs, with both sides moving up and down the divisions in recent times.
What the managers have said
In Carlos Corberan’s press conference, the Spanish coach spoke highly of the Blades.
“They are a strong team, and we want to face them with the highest amounts of respect. The past is not going to work for them. The past is not going to work for us. The only important thing is how we face the different moments that we have. The game is going to be really demanding.”
In Paul Heckingbottom’s absence after a positive Covid test, assistant manager Stuart McCall conducted the pre-match press conference.
McCall believes the Sheffield United support will play a huge part.
“The away support is fantastic, there is no doubt about that. It has been brilliant. The home support is getting there. We cannot appreciate how great the fans are.”
On the opposition, the 57-year-old said: “They are 13 games undefeated. We know the task there. We are always aware of opponents, we have got to do our analysis on that naturally. The key is, how we are going to approach it. It’s about one team for us.”
How to watch
The fixture will be live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football for viewers in the UK, with coverage beginning at 12:00 GMT. Kick-off is at 12:30.