Sheffield Utd (H) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

It’s been a bizarre and pretty brutal season, but there’s two bits of good news heading into our final home game of 2020/21 – fans are back and we’re not going down.

The latter is hardly anything to celebrate, but it’s nice returning supporters can enjoy a rare day out at St James’ Park without checking Fulham’s score every five minutes and biting their nails throughout.

Our penultimate game sees us face an already relegated Sheffield United. They’re rooted to the bottom, yet did secure a shock win at Everton on Sunday night.

Make no mistake though, this is the perfect chance for us to finally give fans something to shout about and put right that truly abysmal display that saw us hand Sheffield United their first win of the season in that January horror show at Bramall Lane.

One subplot heading into this one is the reception Steve Bruce will receive from the 10,000 crowd. He insisted in his Tuesday morning press conference that he’s not anxious or expecting any hostilities, so it’ll be interesting to hear what the atmosphere is like.

Now we’re safe and coming in on the back of a few impressive results and much improved display, I can see those who’ve picked up a ticket getting behind the team – not booing the man most want out. And why not. I join many in believing Bruce needs to go, but I won’t begrudge anyone wanting to just enjoy a rare night out at St James’ Park!

I’m sure a few will make their point known and rightly so, but reckon 99% of the 10,000 in attendance will be more focused on watching a game of live football after over a year away.

Hopefully it’s a Sunny day at St James’ raining goals, pre-match pints at The Strawberry, Saint-Maximin magic and a whole lot of love for star loanee Joe Willock.

Team news

  • Callum Wilson – Ruled out for the season with a hamstring injury.
  • Fabian Schar – Suspended after his red card in the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal. Will be back for Fulham this weekend.
  • Isaac Hayden – Back in light training after a serious knee injury but won’t be risked, according to Bruce.
  • Ryan Fraser – Like Hayden, he’s back running but yet to train properly after groin surgery. Won’t play again this season.
  • Elliot Anderson – Trained on Monday after a week out with a hip injury. Is ‘desperate’ to play but is set for a late fitness test.
  • Karl Darlow – Still recovering from an operation on his knee and unlikely to feature in our final two games.
  • Jamaal Lascelles – Was only going to be rushed back from a stress fracture if he was needed, so will continue his recovery from the sidelines now we’re sage.
  • Andy Carroll – Used sparingly since the turn of the year, but will be urging Bruce to give him one last run out at St James’ Park before he’s released this summer.

Predicted lineup

(5-3-2): Dubravka – Murphy, Krafth, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie – Willock, Shelvey (c), Almiron – Saint-Maximin, Joelinton.

It’s more than likely that Bruce sticks with the same side that ran Man City close last Friday, hence us predicting an unchanged side, however he does have a few intriguing selection dilemmas to consider.

Does Krafth keep his place or will Clark return? Will Lewis be given a rare start and chance to rebuild his confidence levels against a very beatable Blades side? Does U23 star Elliot Anderson finally get his long-awaited Premier League debut and will we see at St James’ Park send off for Andy Carroll?

There’s also the two Longstaff’s. It’d be nice if Bruce gave Shelvey a ‘rest’ and handed Matty a rare start – a local lad like Anderson who deserves more game time than he’s getting – however it seems the stand-in skipper is undroppable these days.

Out of all the above, I’d like to think Bruce will mix it up slightly, as this seems like the ideal chance to blood in our best youngsters, give Carroll more than 2 minutes of action and hand the likes of Lewis a welcome boost ahead of next season.

Match prediction

It’s not often we’ve been able to say this under Steve Bruce, but this feels like a game we could really enjoy and win convincingly (famous last words!).

We just don’t do clean sheets at St James’ Park this season and the visitors will be on a mini high after that shock win at Goodison over the weekend – so I can see them scoring – however I back Joelinton to bag another goa and ASM to cause havoc in a game full of goals.

Prediction: Newcastle 3-1 Sheffield United

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About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

41 thoughts on “Sheffield Utd (H) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

  1. Coming to the end of the season and you have to ask what is the point of VAR. Did anybody see the Cancelo red card at Brighton? What a joke. The VAR official should have been sacked on the spot. And this is one of so many examples.

    Are there any English Refs at the Euros? I havent seen any in the Champions League.

    You could say that VAR is not the problem, it is the Refs at Stockley Park. Not sure if that is the whole story but it is part of it.

    I would love to see Mike Dean at the Euros. He would be in his element. A red card for Ronaldo or De Bruyne? How about FatBoy Moss or have the European Union banned British tugboats.


  2. It will be interesting to see the fan reaction to Bruce. I have no idea what to expect or even what I want. I have been one of his biggest critics for 2 main reasons – he is a gobshyte who has played almost exclusively turgid football. But, as Sharpy has said, we should be used to it. FFS we had Big Fat Sam for a while, the most smug, self agrandizing Manager in the history of football. And Kinnear, Souness, Pards, Ugly John, Schteve. God if you had to write a list of World Class Gobshytes you could do worse than start with ex-NUFC Managers.

    Then there is Spurs. I can watch a replay in the US and probably will. Not so much for the game but to watch the fans reaction to the goings on there.

    Good to have fans back. Adds a bit of spice.


  3. The news that the arbitration case will not be heard until July means that there will be no takeover before the start of next season, or maybe ever? That means that we are stuck with Bruce. How do we make the best of it?

    Today should be a good guide. Will he continue to press a bit and attack a bit or will he revert back to his usual pattern? Whenever we play well it seems we go back into our shell for the next game. I have no idea why?

    Then I have seen a few mention that Bruce needs media training. I would feel a lot happier if he would remove the words “fan expectations” from his vocabulary. He talks about it even after a good game like he is emboldened that it shows how great he is. I think it shows the opposite – how petty he is. Just stop it Steve, and we might like you.

    It would be nice if he didnt pass the buck and blame others, but that’s his nature.

    Then there are his crutch words. Pleasing. And Delighted. If he ever does a Fan Forum there should be a drinking game for when he uses these. It really doesnt bother me, I just find it funny that everything is so pleasing and delightful to him.


  4. I have thought about what the 10,000 should do. Support the team during the match. Back them to the hilt, no matter what the performance and result.

    Then, at full time, that’s when Bruce should get both barrels. Of course the media will call us ungrateful because their Pal has done such a great job. But we watched the games, unlike most of them.

    I dont get Luke Edwards. He must have watched every game and still has these rose tinted glasses when it comes to his Pal Bruce.


  5. It has to be the golf circuit, the after dinner circuit. The PFA awards. All the ex-player pundits palling around and cozying up to the likes of Bruce. That’s the only thing that I can think of that is in it for them to utter such mistruths about the cabbage. That their little gang stick together.

    Most of the journos got off the Bruce bandwagon, although Ryder and Douglas seem to have one foot tentatively back on it. Edwards is still on, but I think that is self serving as he gets the “scoops” from his “friendship” with Brucie.

    I really would like to finish with 2 wins even if it makes me cringe when cabbage starts again with the Rafa comparisons. BTW I was never Rafa’s biggest fan at NUFC either but you cannot doubt what he has achieved elsewhere.


  6. You know though, The Athletic did give Bruce some cover a couple of weeks ago. Waugh and Caulkin gave a critique of Bruce’s tenure but laid out all of Steve’s half-truths and excuses before only partially debunking them. He seems to have some hold even over credible journos.

    I suppose they want to offer a “balanced” view. But we are 17th with a squad that is better than Villa and Leeds and should be mid-table. The football has been dire and that is where the buck should stop. All mitigations of Bruce’s management should always come back to the awful football, whatever his excuses (lies) of not having his best players.


  7. Well it would be nice for fans to see a win, but I suspect it won’t be easy.


  8. Sorry Sharpy!!!!

    But Donkey gave the ball away easily on 7 mins and SU amost scored. HE IS A DONKEY.


  9. Is this the Germany – Austria game at the World Cup when they both needed a draw to go through to the next round so just stayed off each other for the whole game?


  10. Of course, useless again. Figure out the free kicks!!!!

    Although most teams are the same and waste them.


  11. Commentators over here are saying Shelvey should have scored. I dont think it was a bad effort.


  12. We were really pressing in the last 10 mins. was getting fun again!

    Good goal. Typical St Max, great feed, then great cross, great finish.


  13. Willock again …. get in lad and what a cross from Murphy… that’s more like it.


  14. That was brilliant by Willock, Gilly. The obvious thing to do was glance it in but he hit it where the goalie was coming from. Shearer-esque header or Sir Les even.


  15. Man City want Harry Kane.

    I am very happy. Cheese room! Beer filling from t he bottom! Fck off Levy and your space ship stadium that landed in North London.


  16. A great effort from a few there Eric, Maxi, Murphy and the Willock’s header! Rey well worked goal. Sheffield were a bit wasteful with their own good chances, and could easily have scored 2, but luckily they aren’t bottom for no reason.

    I’d like us to push on a put a few in now… will we? Or will we just do the classic Cabbage tactic and sit back to defend the 1-0 … 😖😳


  17. That was a joke!!!! Shelvey cant tackle for toffee but that wasnt even toffee.


  18. I wasnt criticising Jonjo. It was a bad call by the ref on the edge of our box against him.


  19. Grealish for England! Such a brilliant player but also a brilliant diver. We need him to start at the Euros.


  20. Eric Sykes:
    Sorry Sharpy!!!!

    But Donkey gave the ball away easily on 7 mins and SU amost scored. HE IS A DONKEY.

    What you sorry for mate?


  21. This have been a very poor game. I would have thought the players may have been a bit more up tempo than this with the fans back in.

    Little urgency again – only ASM & Willock turning it on.

    Thought he might have given Carroll a swan song for either Joe or Max.

    Pleased we’ve decided to keep Gayle – he has done absolutely nowt since he’s came on!!.


  22. Steve Bruce for England!!!

    He actually was considered once for the role.



    BFS and Scteve actually were England Managers and so is Southgate. What has he ever done?


  23. Well that was Sh.ite… against bottom of the league at home in front of the first fans of the season… yes we won but really expected better


  24. Well it wasn’t pretty but it’s another 3 points & beat Fulham and we will have got more points this season than last 🤷🏼‍♂️.

    Have to say I thought the fans were excellent tonight, pleased to hear real fan noise & proud to be part of that fan base 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼


  25. Sharpy17:
    Well it wasn’t pretty but it’s another 3 points & beat Fulham and we will have got more points this season than last 🤷🏼‍♂️.

    Have to say I thought the fans were excellent tonight, pleased to hear real fan noise & proud to be part of that fan base 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

    Here here mate, the fans gave it their all tonight. Great to hear!


  26. Plenty of stuff still to play for:

    * The Rafa Cup. If we beat Fulham, Bruce will have the same points I think.

    * St Totteringham’s Day. Arsenal might get more points than Spurs. That is St T’s Day.

    * Sir Harold of Kane lays down his sword and light sabre in the Star Ship Totteringham and says goodbye to one of those alien thingies with a bald head, big ears and furrowed brow – or is it Levy? Same difference.

    * Red Bindippers win/lose/get CL. I will have a look later 🙂


  27. Sharpy17:
    Well it wasn’t pretty but it’s another 3 points & beat Fulham and we will have got more points this season than last .

    Have to say I thought the fans were excellent tonight, pleased to hear real fan noise & proud to be part of that fan base

    Good they didnt boo Bruce. A touch of class which is more than he shows.


  28. There was the Rafa song and booing for Bruce. I have moved on Sharpy but it was a great way to annoy the cabbage.
    Can we please ditch the donkey. It really can’t go on.


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