'Argyle will be on a high after their win at Sunderland' - what Sheffield United can expect from Plymouth
Sheffield United will be hoping to book their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup by beating League One outfit Plymouth Argyle at Bramall Lane on Saturday.
Victory over Ryan Lowe’s Pilgrims would tee up another home tie against Millwall or Bristol Rovers in the next round and provide the Blades with some much-needed respite from their Premier League woes as well as an opportunity to enjoy a cup run in what has been a disastrous season to date.
Chris Wilder’s side have won just two out of 21 matches across all competitions during the 2020/21 campaign, with one of those victories coming in the 3-2 defeat of Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium in the previous round of the world’s oldest cup competition.
Next up are the men from Home Park, led by former Sheffield Wednesday star Lowe, who booked their place in the fourth round by producing a surprise 3-2 win against Sky Bet Championship outfit Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium.
They currently sit in 11th place in League One following their promotion last summer and will make the long trip north to South Yorkshire this weekend buoyed by an impressive 2-1 win at Sunderland on Tuesday night.
So who are the players which make Argyle tick and what should United expect from the Devon outfit at the Lane on Saturday?
We asked Chris Errington, who covers the club for Plymouth Live, to give us the inside track on Lowe’s team.
What have you made of Argyle’s start to the season?
Argyle carried the momentum from their League Two promotion last season into 2020/21 and made a very encouraging start at the higher level.
They were sitting in ninth spot after a 2-2 Sky-televised draw with Portsmouth at Home Park on November 16.
They then had a dreadful run of six successive league defeats, which began with a 5-1 defeat at Fleetwood Town, and they conceded 17 goals during that time.
However, they have been able to regroup over the past month, with a record of four wins, two draws and a defeat.
They are now 11th in the table after their 2-1 win at Sunderland on Tuesday night.
Who have been the stand-out performers for Plymouth and their main threats?
Argyle's Wales under-21 international striker Luke Jephcott is the joint top scorer in League One with 15 goals, along with Peterborough United's Jonson Clarke-Harris.
A product of the club's youth academy, he has got a lot of his goals from in and around the six-yard area, often making good runs to the near post to get on the end of crosses from the Pilgrims' wing-backs.
Skipper Joe Edwards is having a fine season at right wing-back and is the second top scorer with five goals, including the winner at Sunderland.
With United having a disastrous season to date, how much confidence is there among the Argyle support that Ryan Lowe's men can win on Saturday?
Judging by the opinions on social media there is some optimism among the Green Army that Argyle can cause an upset.
Some have pointed out that United have been really struggling in the Premier League while others have been more reserved, mentioning that the Blades had a very good season in the Premier League last term and have many talented players.
There is a gap of 35 positions in the football pyramid after all.
How disappointing is it for those supporters that they can't travel to watch their side play Premier League opposition?
Argyle always get good support from the Green Army and with the team are on a good run of form and playing in the FA Cup fourth round for the first time since 2008 against Premier League opponents I am sure there would have been a large number of travelling fans at Bramall Lane had that been allowed.
When Argyle played Liverpool at Anfield in a FA Cup third round tie in January 2017 they had 9,000 supporters roaring them on.
What style of football (or system) should United expect to come up against?
Manager Ryan Lowe favours an attacking style of play, passing the ball out of defence and through the thirds, relying heavily on the wing-backs to provide the ammunition for his two strikers, who have been Jephcott and Ryan Hardie over recent matches.
I would expect a very similar approach against United even though the standard of opposition is higher than they usually face in League One.
What do you think the score will be?
I am not really one for making predictions. Football is just too unpredictable. United will obviously be the favourites and should win but this is the FA Cup and strange things can happen.
Argyle will be on a high after their win at Sunderland and quietly confident of impressing on another big stage.
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