Sheffield United: Blades all set for a busy finale

Water mess as the Bramall Lane pitch is given thumbs down with Sheffield United Chief Operating Officer Dave McCarthy, groundsman Glenn Northcliffe, Sheffield referee Michael Naylor and Brentford's Peter Gilham
Water mess as the Bramall Lane pitch is given thumbs down with Sheffield United Chief Operating Officer Dave McCarthy, groundsman Glenn Northcliffe, Sheffield referee Michael Naylor and Brentford's Peter Gilham
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The fixtures are starting to pile up for Sheffied United and their followers. And they could keep piling up!

The latest postponement, yesterday’s home game with Brentford, means the Blades are guaranteed midweek fixtures for the next six weeks.

It is very likely it could extend to a seventh successive midweek game if last night’s fixture is rearranged for the next available midweek vacancy, which is the week beginning Monday, March 31.

Remarkably, United could be without a league game that preceding weekend (March 29). They are due to play at Swindon but the game will be off if Swindon reach the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final at Wembley (their home semi-final second leg with Peterborough next week is locked at 2-2). So, that would be another midweek trip.

Also to be factored in is the prospect of a replay if they draw with Nottingham Forest in their FA Cup fifth round tie at Bramall Lane on Sunday (3pm).

If that happens, the replay would most likely be on the date (Feb 25) when United are due to go to Colchester - so the Colchester game would have to be pushed back into April.

So, it is possible - if the Forest and Swindon scenarios should happen - that Nigel Clough’s men would have to play every midweek from next Wednesday (at Gillingham) to the start of the final week of the season (April 26 to May 3). That would then be the only vacant midweek.

Of course, this doesn’t factor in any more postponements in the weeks ahead, obviously a possibility in view of more wet weather forecast!

A couple of those midweek dates are Mondays - they go to Preston for a live televised match on Monday, March 17 and there is an Easter Monday (April 21) trip to Tranmere.

Even without the worst-case scenario, it all adds up to a very busy time coming up for the Blades.

Yesterday’s game didn’t survive a lunchtime pitch inspection carried out by Sheffield’s Football League referee Michael Naylor.

Parts were waterlogged and the forecast was for further rain and then showers so the pitch wouldn’t be able to dry out. Both managers were there and agreed with the decision.