Sheffield United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers Preview: Blades looking to replace Wolves in the top two

Sheffield United host Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday night for matchday 10 of the 2017/18 Sky Bet Championship season.

Sheffield United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers Preview: Blades looking to replace Wolves in the top two
(photo: Getty Images / Robbie Jay Barratt)

Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers clash at Bramall lane on Wednesday night in a battle of early season promotion contenders. 

Two different ways to the top

It has to be said that the away team in this fixture were expected to be in a lofty league table position at this stage of the season, and for all of the campaign for a matter of fact. Wolves, now backed by Chinese ownership, spent big in the summer and under new Portugese head coach Nuno Espirito Santo they were touted amongst many as favourites to win the Sky Bet Championship out right. 

The Midlands based club have pretty much lived up to these expectations and find themselves tied for the league lead going into this round of games. Six wins, two draws and one defeat to Cardiff City who are at the top with them, has collected a tally of 20 points from nine games.

However, just like their opponents for this game, Wolves fans had to go through an emotional roller coaster before they could celebrate a 2-1 home win over Barnsley in their most recent game. All three goals in the game at Molineux on Saturday were scored in the last 15 minutes and it needed a 93rd minute winner from Alfred N'Diaye to secure all three points.

In contrast, hosts Sheffield United were expected by many to be closer to the bottom end of the table having been promoted from League one following a six year absence from the second tier. However, under the managment of Blades fan Chris Wilder they have made the step up in divisions look very easy. 

United were fourth going into this round of fixtures just two points off the three joint leaders, which included Wolves. Wilder's team have been one of the more exciting one's to watch with a record of six wins and three defeats with no draws yet this season. 

Like Wolves, United's fans were put through some trauma at the weekend as they came out on top 4-2 over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in the first Steel city derby for more than five and a half years. The Blades went 2-0 up early only to be pegged back in the second half, but Mark Duffy put them straight back in front and a second goal from former Owls striker Leon Clarke gave United the bragging rights.

Team news

Defender Richard Stearman is pushing for a return for United against his former club after missing the past seven games due to a hamstring problem.

Fellow defender Kieron Freeman and striker Clayton Donaldson are also in contention for selection again after shorter term injuries. 

Wolves meanwhile have a fully fit squad to choose from.

Stats

The Blades haven't won any of their last five league meetings with Wolves.

Wolves have won on each of their last two trips to Bramall lane, the same amount as their previous 19 games there before.

Sheffield United have won more league games than any side in English league football since the start of last season (36).