Sheffield United lacking consistency
Sheffield United sit seven points outside of the Championship play-off positions with the Blades unable to find consistency following relegation. Slavisa Jokanovic's troops were turned over 3-1 by Blackburn immediately before the international break despite Rhian Brewster's volley - his first league goal for the club - giving United a second-minute lead.
They were unable to build on their eye-catching start and Jokanovic admitted his team weren't good enough at Ewood Park. He said: "We started well, but after that we didn't put enough energy on the field. We weren't strong enough, quick enough. It was a poor performance, we don't deserve anything other than defeat."
Jokanovic insists a strong promotion challenge remains possible, but supporters are looking for immediate improvement. The Blades boss may be tempted to move away from his preferred 4-2-3-1 system - the team have struggled defensively since switching from a three-man defence - and changes are expected ahead of Saturday's showdown.
Late show keeps Coventry in the top-six
Coventry continued their fine start to the season with a dramatic 92nd-minute success against Bristol City before the international break. The battling Sky Blues were down to 10 men yet twice came from behind to snatch an unexpected 3-2 triumph at the Coventry Building Society Arena and consolidate their position in fourth.
The hosts missed a flurry of first-half chances before Ian Maatsen's red card for a foul inside the area led to Chris Martin's opener from the spot for the visitors. Coventry replied via a penalty of their own from Matt Godden before the Robins restored their lead. But Callum O'Hare fired in a second leveller before Godden sealed victory at the death.
Robins was understandably delighted with his side's resolve, saying: "It's a phenomenal, phenomenal performance and a fantastic result at the end of it. It's not the end of the game because you've lost a man. They were in good spirits. They were really brave and stuck at it and grew into the game with quality. We just got back on with it, the crowd roaring us on."
League meetings between Sheffield United and Coventry have been close affairs going back to the beginning of the century. The Blades have enjoyed slight W12-D6-L10 supremacy since the duo's Premier League days, although this is the first match-up since 2017. Even so, United boast a W3-D1-L0 return in their last four home ties with the Sky Blues.
Sheffield United 2.1011/10 were winless until September and looked to be turning a corner yet the Blades have been unable to string a consistent run of results together. Slavisa Jokanovic's outfit have posted W2-D1-L5 across their past seven outings, and have already been turned over in four of their eight Bramall Lane encounters this term (W3-D1-L4).
Coventry 4.10 have been the Championship's surprise package thus far, yet the Sky Blues' high-flying campaign has been built upon the club's strong home form (W7-D1-L1). Mark Robins' troops have tabled only two triumphs in eight games as guests (W2-D2-L4), whilst scoring only six (24%) of their overall 25 league goals on their travels.
Goals have proven commonplace in both Sheffield United and Coventry's league dates with the two teams both seeing games average well above the standard Over 2.5 Goals 1.855/6. Collectively, 19 (56%) of the duo's 34 Championship fixtures have featured three or more goals, with the same 19 (56%) success rate returned for Both Teams To Score 1.654/6.
With the market giving little away in terms of a goals-based angles of attack, it may pay to invest faith in the away team at Bramall Lane. Coventry can be supported at 1.804/5 in the Double Chance market - the visitors' road record might not inspire, although the visitors have produced consistently competitive displays to sit sixth on Expected Points (xP).
Meanwhile, the Blades have bagged just a solitary success when excluding the bottom-four teams this term (W1-D4-L8) whilst notching twice or more on only two occasions.