Sheffield United v Bristol Rovers Match Preview
By Simon Gray
Sheffield United welcome Bristol Rovers this week for the first time since 1988.
The Blades sit one point and two places above Rovers in the League One table and are in good form having won four of their last five league games.
Bristol Rovers head into the game at Bramall Lane in good form too though, unbeaten in six and winning their last two matches 2-1 against Swindon and Port Vale respectively. As far as team news goes, Sheffield United will be without striker Leon Clarke who has been ruled out for a month due to an ankle injury.
They also have Jake Wright out through injury and Chris Basham through suspension. Defender Reece Brown, who signed towards the end of last week may be handed his debut.
Rovers go into the game missing midfielder Stuart Sinclair through suspension and manager Darrell Clarke is sure to assess the fitness of top scorer Matty Taylor after he missed Saturday’s win with a tight hamstring.
On loan Chelsea defender Jake Clarke Salter was allowed to travel down to Bristol after completing his recovery from injury and assistant manager Marcus Stewart is excited by the centre back joining up with the squad.
“We also get the opportunity to work with Jake for the first time,” Stewart told the Bristol Post.
“We will see how he is, but he has played a few games recently, so it is not as if he is coming here without any minutes under his belt.
“He has played three games for Chelsea’s development team recently. He is ready to go straight away and it’s not a case that we will need two or three weeks to get him up to speed.
“If what we have seen from Charlie since he has been here is anything to go by, he will be a good addition because they are coming from a culture that demands hard work.
“There is always a stigma about players that come from big clubs and how they will fit in with the dynamics of the changing room, but Charlie has shown a great work-ethic and determination to fit in with the lads and I don’t expect it to be any different with Jake.”
Although having a better head to head record, Rovers have not won in Sheffield against the Blades since 1976.
The last meeting between these two sides came at the Memorial Stadium in 2012 with Sheffield United winning the match 2-1 in the FA Cup First Round.
Deputising Rovers captain Tom Lockyer, in the absence of Mark McChrystal and Lee Mansell was on the bench in the previous match between these two.