FOOTBALL: Long, winding road for United

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Sheffield United always knew next season would be a long, hard campaign after missing out on promotion by the narrowest of margins last time out.

But it is unlikely the club or their fans would expect to surpass the 5,500 miles they chalked up on League One away day trips last season - but look set to.

Sheffield Wednesday will mark their first season back in the Championship by totting up over 4,800 miles.

Longest trips as Wednesday return to the Championship are Brighton, Cardiff and Bristol City although every fan knows how long it can take to get to Crystal Palace!

The Blades will look to mount a promotion challenge by adding long trips to Crawley (a first ever) and Portsmouth although they have shed relegated Exeter.

They’ve lost handy, short derby trips to Hillsborough, the B2net and the Galpharm but do pick up Doncaster.

The Owls longest trek will come when they face Brighton & Hove Albion on their first ever visit to the Amex Stadium.

As if the 464-mile round trip wasn’t bad enough, it is made even worse by the fact that the game will be played on a Friday night (Sept 14), meaning the travelling contingent from Sheffield may be greatly reduced.

The trip to the Amex comes during the month when Wednesday also travel to South London to face Crystal Palace (Sept 1), as well as a trip to Wolves (Sept 29) which will take the month’s tally past the 1000-mile mark.

March would appear to be the most costly time for ardent Blades fans as they will play four of six league games away from Bramall Lane. A trio of trips to the North-West precede a visit to the familiar surroundings of Stevenage, where United played twice last season, most recently in the play-offs.

Long away-days for Danny Wilson’s men will also include Bournemouth, in February, and Yeovil whilst the penultimate game of the season is at Portsmouth on April 20 - a modest 478-mile round trip.

Barnsley will also make the same stop-offs as Wednesday while Doncaster have the same fixture list as the Blades.

Rotherham United certainly totted up the miles last season in League Two when their nearest trips were Bradford City and Burton Albion but at least local rivals Chesterfield are back at that level next season.

TOP 5 TRIPS

Blades: Bournem’th Feb 23. 492

Blades:Portsmouth Apr 20.. 478

Owls: Brighton Sep 14..........464

Blades: Yeovil Sep 22........... 428

Owls: Cardiff Dec 2.............. 420