Middlesbrough v Sheffield United: Blades backed at The Riverside

Slavisa Jokanovic - Sheffield United
Sheffield United are now unbeaten in five (W3-D2-L0)
  • Middlesbrough vs Sheffield United
  • Tue 28 Sep, 19:45

Recently-relegated Sheffield United travel to The Riverside to face Middlesbrough in Tuesday night's televised Championship action. Mark O'Haire previews the match-up...

"The Blades boast the stronger squad and are on an upward trajectory under Slavisa Jokanovic, with plenty of strength in-depth to call upon"

Middlesbrough underwhelm, again

Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock described his side's display at Reading on Saturday as "disappointing" as the Teessiders fell to a 1-0 defeat, the side's second successive loss. Boro failed to fire in the final-third and played with the handbrake on in attack, whilst goalkeeper Joe Lumley was arguably the pick of the visitors' standout performers in Berkshire.

A late red card for Matt Crooks capped off a poor afternoon for Middlesbrough with Warnock insisting he will "persevere" as he looks to turn around the Teessiders' sluggish start to the season. He said, "We have to try and create more, get the lads a bit fitter who have come from abroad and persevere. It's all you can do, you can't do much more."

Warnock had made four changes at Reading, bringing in Marc Bola, Paddy McNair and Isaiah Jones, while Martin Payero made his first Championship start. Further alterations are expected on Tuesday night, although winger Onel Hernandez and full-back Anfernee Dijksteel have both been ruled out of contention for the coming week's action.

Sheffield United pinch late victory

Sheffield United moved into the top-half of the Championship table on Saturday with Billy Sharp netting from the penalty spot to seal a narrow 1-0 success two minutes from time against 10-man Derby at Bramall Lane. However, it wasn't all plain sailing for the Blades with their spirited guests twice hitting the woodwork, including in added time.

Having opened their account with two points from their first five fixtures, the recently-relegated outfit now sit just a point off seventh, and head coach Slavisa Jokanovic believes there's still much more to come from his side. He said, "I believe we are in the process. We didn't play our best game, but we had enough power and knowledge to get the victory."

Having settled on a 4-2-3-1 formation in recent matches and profited to the tune of 12 goals in the last four league games, Jokanovic is eager to continue the team's good form. Ben Davies returned to central defence on Saturday but Sander Berge will action miss out after suffering a hamstring injury. Ollie McBurnie and Conor Hourihane are hoping for recalls.

Boro unappealing at the prices

Middlesbrough have welcomed Sheffield United to The Riverside on six occasions since 1997 and the Teessiders' have returned W5-D1-L0 during that sample. In fact, Boro have only been beaten once at home by the Blades since 1986 (W7-D3-L1) with the hosts keeping their sheets clean in each of the most recent five head-to-head duels here.

Middlesbrough 2.809/5 have managed only two Championship triumphs thus far, including a sole success in seven (W1-D2-L4). Boro boast a W1-D1-L2 record at The Riverside, and although Neil Warnock's men are posting reasonable performance data metrics, underwhelming displays have disappointed supporters, particularly in the final-third.

Sheffield United 2.747/4 are unbeaten in five (W3-D2-L0) and appear to have clicked into gear after a slow start to life back in the second-tier. The Blades have posted W3-D3-L0 when taking on teams in the bottom-half of the standings, with their only road reverse arriving at high-flying West Brom (W1-D2-L1). United have fired in the fourth-most shots in the box.


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Sheffield United

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Tuesday 28 September, 19:45

Full stats

Blades backed at The Riverside

Neither Middlesbrough nor Sheffield United particularly impressed on Saturday yet the duo have the capacity to serve up an entertaining encounter on Tuesday evening. Over 2.5 Goals is rated a 2.3411/8 chance and has clicked in exactly half of the pairs combined 18 league matches already this season, with the same figure landing for Both Teams To Score backers.

However, the more appealing play is to support Sheff Utd off a +0 Asian Handicap at 1.875/6. The Blades boast the stronger squad and are on an upward trajectory under Slavisa Jokanovic, with plenty of strength in-depth to call upon. And this looks a good opportunity to oppose a Middlesbrough side on a low ebb after a series of disappointing displays.

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