View From T'other Side: Sheffield United

Last updated : 07 April 2009 By Rob Miles (barnsley Boy)
1. Sheffield United appear to be the form team in the division right now. If somebody offered you a place in the playoffs today, would you take it or say no and still go for automatics?
I think our place in the play-offs is more or less secure (touch wood), all we need is a few more points so in that sense I think United should be gunning for automatic. However I personally myself shall only start believing that second spot could be ours if we pick up a further four points from the fixtures against
Barnsley and Reading on Good Friday.
2. Tuesday night will be HOT no doubt, is there a feeling from the Blades side that this could turn ugly?
Obviously the Iain Hume affair has added to the already hot rivalry between Sheffield United and Barnsley, and whilst I hope that the South Yorkshire derby goes smoothly I can see there being trouble; no doubt Blades fans alike will be poking the Tykes fans with such chants of 'Morgan is innocent.'
3. A question most
Barnsley fans seem to want asking - How's Brian Howard getting along?
Sadly Brian Howard hasn't featured much in our team, though I think this is largely due to selective issues. Kevin Blackwell has opted to start defensive players such as Nick Montgomery, Stephen Quinn and John-Joe O'Toole instead of Howard's attacking flair.
He made his debut as a second half substitute in a 3-0 home win over
Bristol City last October and despite already being three goals to the good Howard showed enough enthusiasm to possibly extend that lead. Before Christmas he scored in the 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest.
4. Team news, are both Howard and Morgan expected to play?
Chris Morgan received a slight knock in the latter stages against Ipswich Town (won 2-0) last Saturday, but he did play through the entire 90 minutes and I believe that he will be fit enough to face Barnsley, whilst Howard - mainly a bench warmer is, as I understand, to start against his former club alongside Nick Montgomery.
5. What's changed for United under Blackwell. With Robson, you looked bottom half but now your genuine promotion challengers?
Bryan Robson was a useful manager in the fact that he brought in good players, it's been commented that it would have been very unlikely that United would have signed the likes of James Beattie had it not been for his status in the game. However on the field he never quite managed to get the team playing to how Blades fans would have liked.
As for Kevin Blackwell he has rejuvenated the side into the 'never say die' attitude which we so loved under Neil Warnock and many games were won late on due to that belief that the game wasn't over until the final whistle.
6. And why are so many fans against Blackwell?
I think many fans see Blackwell as a cheap option, whilst he never really amounted to much at Leeds United and
Luton Town - he had his hands tied behind his back financially but I think the fact that they were both relegated under him adds a huge disadvantage to his managerial career.
7. Does this game mean as much to United fans as it does
Barnsley? There's a lot of bad blood so do United fans really want this too?
Yes, local pride is at stake - even more so after United lost twice to
Sheffield Wednesday and at home to Doncaster Rovers whilst we require the points in our aid for promotion. To me winning this game means a lot, not only because I live in Barnsley but for years we never seemed to get anything, we'd have been happy with a point. We've won our last three meetings with the Tykes and I would like to see them continue that winning streak.
8. Score Prediction?
I hate to say it but Morgan hasn't scored for United in a couple of games so maybe its his turn this time. I think in Daniel Bodganovic you'll find a goal but United will win on the night.
9. Where do you think both teams will finish?
I think I'd like to sit on the fence for United, four or more points against Barnsley and Reading and I will start believing that we can steal an automatic spot but I do think we will finish somewhere in the top six. Whilst
Barnsley will be playing Championship football next season, they are a decent side with the wrong man in charge and are well worthy of mid-table finish.