Fans flock to Blades relegation showdown

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MIDDLESBROUGH are set to bring a bumper following to Bramall Lane in their relegation scrap with third-from-bottom Sheffield United this weekend.

It is understood 18th placed Boro have sold more than 1,800 tickets for the Championship encounter.

Earlier on in the season, Middlesbrough took 1,522 to Barnsley and 1,464 to Doncaster Rovers. Their highest away turn out in the 2010/11 season came at promotion-chasing Leeds United on New Year’s Day. Almost 2,400 fans made the trip to Elland Road.

Relegation-haunted United, seven points behind Crystal Palace in the battle to escape the drop, are seeking a third win on home soil after impressive victories over Nottingham Forest and Leeds. They have not lost to Boro in their own backyard for 23 years.

Micky Adams’ men are aiming for an immediate response following a 3-0 loss at run-away leaders Queens Park Rangers in front of the Sky cameras on Monday night.

Tough tackling Michael Doyle said: “I thought 3-0 was a bit harsh in the end. We had a few chances especially when the game was still in the balance. After half-time we pushed on and had chances before they got a second but we couldn’t get that goal to get back into the game.”

Lee Williamson is ruled out of the home double-header against Middlesbrough and Cardiff City, as the midfielder still has two matches to serve of his four-match ban following his dismissal at Watford.

n Sheffield United’s youngsters reached the FA Youth Cup Final for the first time ever after beating Aston Villa 2-0 in the second leg at Bramall Lane last night for a 3-0 aggregate success.

In front of a crowd of 4,016, skipper Elliott Whitehouse scored either side of half time, the second a penalty, but was later sent off for a second booking.

United were also missing highly-rated striker Jordan Slew, who was suspended.

They will play either holders Chelsea or Manchester United in the two-legged final.

n Full match report: p43