Spotlight On…Sheffield United
The bookies favourites, Sheffield United, are the next team we look at ahead of the League One campaign.
It was a topsy-turvy season for the Blades as they had a very poor start to the season and only recovered when Nigel Clough came in as manager.
They kicked off the season with a 2-1 victory against Notts County but that turned out to be their only victory under the leadership of manager David Weir. Weir was only manager for 13 games but he had a very poor record of one win, three draws and nine defeats.
With Clough in charge, he stabilised the side before they went on a march up the League One table from 21st position to one place and seven points outside the play-offs!
The Blades had an incredible run in the FA Cup as they reached the semi-final stages before losing to Hull City at Wembley.
THE MANAGER - NIGEL CLOUGH
Nigel has one of the most famous surnames in English football as he is the son of the legendary Brian Clough.
It`s therefore not surprising that he started his playing career at Nottingham Forest. He played over 300 times for Forest scoring over 100 goals in a nine year career at the club. During that time, he was also capped 14 times by England although he never scored a goal.
His form at Forest earned him a move to Liverpool but things didn`t work out as he only made 39 appearances for the Anfield club scoring just seven goals in three years.
He then spent two years at Manchester City during which time he spent time on loan back at Forest and also Sheffield Wednesday.
He finished off his playing career at Burton Albion where he spent 10 years playing over 200 times as player-manager. Burton were in the Southern League Premier Division when he first took over as player-manager.
Clough eventually moved to Championship side Derby County, one of his fathers former clubs, but only after Clough had guided Burton in to the League. He was appointed in January 2009 and although he saved the Rams from relegation in that season, he couldn`t make them in to the force the owners wanted and was relieved of his position in September 2013.
He wasn't out of the game long though as Sheffield United appointed him their manager less than a month later.
VISITING THE GROUND?
Bramall Lane is the famous home of the Blades and holds over 32,000 fans and is the biggest stadium in League One.
Away fans are housed in the lower tier of the Jessica Ennis (aka the Bramall Lane) Stand at one end of the ground, where around 3,000 supporters can be accommodated.
Posh will visit Bramall Lane on on a Tuesday night again! This time it will be on Tuesday 3rd March, 2015.
Post Code for SAT NAV: S2 4SU
Distance from London Road: 94.1 miles
SUMMER BUSINESS SO FAR
The Blades were quick to start their team building for the new season when tying down winger Ryan Flynn on a new two-year deal. They`ve also exercised the contract option of a further year with goalkeeper Mark Howard and defenders Terry Kennedy and Bob Harris. Striker Chris Porter has also agreed a new 12-month contract.
Blades boss Nigel Clough released nine players though. Matt Hill, Shaun Miller, Darryl Westlake, Sean McGinty, Elliott Whitehouse, Jasper Johns, Jordan Hodder and Jahmal Smith have been released.
Striker Febian Brandy has also left the club even though he is midway through his two-year contract! Another striker who has left Bramall Lane is Lyle Taylor who has joined League One rivals Scunthorpe United for an undisclosed fee.
New players to the club come in the form of former Livingston striker Marc McNulty and Notts County winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce. Midfielder Chris Basham has signed from Blackpool and defender Andy Butler has come in from Walsall.
The Blades have also agreed deals with former Derby County midfielder Ben Davies and Tranmere Rovers midfielder James Wallace as they look to build on their excellent form from the second half of last season.
One player incoming to the Blades is someone all Posh fans know - Craig Alcock. After initially being released by Posh and then having a contract offered to him following deals with other clubs falling through, the defender eventually rejected it when the Blades offered him a contract.
Another defender signed by the Blades is 18-year-old Harrison McGahey who appeared four times for Blackpool last season. The fee will be decided by a tribunal.
The Blades have lost a good defender in Harry Maguire who has signed for Steve Bruce`s Hull City.
THEY PLAYED FOR BOTH
There are two players currently at the Blades who have previous played at Posh. Craig Alcock is one, who made the switch a few weeks ago, while Florent Cuvelier is the other.
Striker Ian Benjamin started his career at the Blades scoring three goals in five games before quickly being snapped up by WBA. He failed to make the grade there and resurrected his career at Posh where he scored 14 goals in 80 appearances.
Other players to have played for both clubs include Jim Iley, Curtis Woodhouse, Martin Pike, Ian Bennett, Barry Butlin and Izale McLeod.
Billy McEwan also played for Posh and although he didn`t play for the Blades, he did manage them, albeit not very well!
There have only ever been 9 competitive meetings between these two sides. Six of the matches were in the League where the Blades have lost only once while winning on four occasions.
There have been two League Cup clashes which resulted in one draw and one win for the Blades while the only FA Cup tie also ended in a Blades victory.
Last season, the Blades had recently sacked David Weir and were about to appoint Nigel Clough when they travelled to London Road. Determined to put a battling display on for the incumbent manager, who was watching from the stands, the Blades "parked the bus" and came away with a goalless draw.
By the time Posh travelled to Bramall Lane for the return fixture, Clough had turned the fortunes round of the Blades and was marching his side up the League. Posh were clinging on to the final play-off place as their form had dipped and were so inconsistent it came as no surprise that the Blades comfortably beat their visitors 2-0.
Ben Davies scored a superb free-kick and Chris Porter converted a Conor Coady pass to give Sheffield United their eighth consecutive win and which saw them move up to 10th place.
WHAT THE BOOKIES THINK
It comes as no real surprise that the bookies have installed the Blades as the favourites for the League One title. They are priced at 5/1 to win the title and 13/8 to be promoted.
They are odds on to finish in the top six while they have massive odds of 40/1 to be relegated.
UP THE POSH
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