Sheffield United v Leeds United preview: Blades key man | Key battle | Phil Hay’s view

Pontus Jansson.
Pontus Jansson.
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Check out our at a glance guide to Leeds United’s clash with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

KEY BATTLE - PONTUS JANSSON V LEON CLARKE

Clarke’s goalscoring has dried up since he went on a ridiculous run of nine strikes in four games in November and Sheffield United are a bit out of form too but the well-travelled forward is a big, powerful presence and will come up against a weakened defence today. Pontus Jansson is available, though and as the most senior centre-back in

the side, he needs to marshal the backline and tackle Clarke head-on.

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BLADES KEY MAN - JAMAL BLACKMAN

Injuries and suspensions have been piling up at Leeds but they are also a problem at Bramall Lane. Blackman, Sheffield United’s first-choice goalkeeper, has been carrying a groin strain and only returned to training on Thursday.

Simon Moore is banned after his dismissal at Wolves last weekend.

That leaves 21-year-old Jake Eastwood, who has never started a league game for the Blades. In the circumstances, and given the opposition, Chris Wilder will surely gamble on Blackman’s fitness.

PHIL HAY’S VIEW: “Leeds were taken to school by Sheffield United in October, at a time when the Blades were forcing the pace in the Championship, but that pace has caught up with Wilder’s squad and one win in six league games is enough to assure Leeds that there are ways of getting at them. That said, the Elland

Road club are short on numbers, form and confidence and will do well to take a win from Bramall

Lane. Nonetheless, Heckingbottom’s appointment should provide a spur.”