IT’s the game all of Sheffield has been looking forward to and the one positive about Sheffield United joining our rivals in League One.
The derby is back, and with a vengeance. Forgetting the scoreline, the points and the league, for just a second, I hope this Sunday will remind everybody what a footballing city Sheffield still is.
It’s time for the memories of our past battles amongst both sets of fans. I was brought up to hate the neighbourhood opposition no matter what. The obscenities I learned as a kid actually equipped me well in later life. Not that I ever use them!
I’m sure my family isn’t the only one in or from Sheffield where the colours are split. A few years ago I received a birthday card from my grandma and grandad.
It was covered in scribbles, at a closer inspection. It read something like this...Grandma ‘up the Blades’, crossed out, Grandad ‘up the Owls’, crossed out, Grandma ‘pigs’, scribbles, ‘there’s only one team in Sheffield’ written in blue.
My worry about this Sunday is because my winning record while attending derbies is appalling! The Blades tend to come out worst against Wednesday when I have attended the derby. My worst moment was the Wembley semi-final. It was my first trip to Wembley and obviously the biggest game I had ever been to. I wanted Sheffield United to win so badly, I wasn’t even bothered about my pie, fish and chip crisps or Bovril, I just so desperately wanted the Blades to win.
Well we all know that didn’t happen, I cried and my dad didn’t speak for the rest of the day.
Unfortunately, United are on a run of two losses in the league and Wednesday are on a run of four wins, but it’s a derby so none of that matters.
This is about pride and for United also an opportunity to turn things round. Wednesday fans have become more vocal and confident these last few weeks, and rightly so, but that could turn into over confidence and be their downfall.
You can never take a derby game for granted and we both have players that can hurt one another.
The three points are of massive importance for us though, we can’t afford to let the play-off places get away from us.
Let’s not forget the Blades are at home and we have got to use that extra support to make sure we get bragging rights until the return fixture in February.
In the league against Charlton, Wilson was right in saying we weren’t clinical enough in front of goal, but in that game and the Wycombe game we still played well. The passing, possession and work-rate have been good, but we’ve just not been able to score. Beating Rotherham in the JPT last week in a South Yorkshire derby was a great warm up to this game and showed Sheffield United have the ability to keep going right until the end.
Wilson has played in many of these fixtures in the past (albeit for the enemy!) and so knows the significance of this game and will make sure all of Bramall Lane are up for it, no matter whether you play a role on or of the pitch.
The week off will hopefully have worked in our favour too with most players getting a rare rest from competitive football in what will be a gruelling season. Wilson has used this extra time to tweak his team and tactics and get his players fully focused on the task at hand this Sunday.
I can’t wait. Dare I have a prediction -why not?! High scoring game, 3-2 to the Blades!