Sheffield Wednesday v Sheffield United: Three key battles which could decide the Sheffield derby

Steel City Derbies 2018/19
Steel City Derbies 2018/19
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Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United go head-to-head at Bramall Lane on Friday in the Steel City derby.

Here we look at where the big clash could be won and lost.

Sheffield Wednesday forward Steven Fletcher

Sheffield Wednesday forward Steven Fletcher

Tom Lees v Billy Sharp

Wednesday captain Lees will have his hands full trying to keep in-form Blades striker Sharp quiet. 

Lees has struggled for form lately, resulting in Owls boss Jos Luhukay benching him for the Queen's Park Rangers match after he cost Wednesday a goal in the previous game against Middlesbrough. 

The centre-back also gave a penalty away in the 4-0 home loss to Norwich City on Saturday.

Sheffield United defender John Egan

Sheffield United defender John Egan

Assuming Lees retains his place in the starting line-up on Friday, negating Sharp's threat could be the key to Wednesday achieving a positive result. 

Sharp is second to only Brentford's Neal Maupay in the Championship scoring charts, bagging 10 goals so far this season.

John Fleck v Barry Bannan

The Fleck v Bannan debate has been running for a while now, and the Steel City clash will be a good opportunity for either of them to prove their quality.

Fleck scored in United's 4-2 Hillsborough triumph last September and many have been left baffled by a lack of an international call-up for Scotland.

Bannan has been Wednesday's most consistent performer this season and has scored a couple of superb goals against Millwall and Stoke City. 

The pace of a derby game can often mean players of their type are by-passed so it will be interesting to see if either can have a big impact.

Steven Fletcher v John Egan

Fletcher will be key to Wednesday retaining possession in United's half. His hold-up play is consistently strong and the Owls will need him to be on top of his game otherwise the ball will keep coming back at the Owls.

Boss Jos Luhukay could opt to partner Fletcher with Lucas Joao, who found the net against United at Hillsborough last season and looked a threat against the Blades at Bramall Lane in January.

Fletcher scored in Wednesday's last away game at Birmingham City and received a standing ovation for his efforts against Norwich City despite the heavy loss.

Egan has impressed for United since his summer move from Brentford, slotting in seamlessly alongside Chris Basham and Jack O'Connell. 

United boss Chris Wilder allows Basham and O'Connell to venture forward so it will be up to Egan to keep it solid at the back.