Sheff Utd wobbling in 2023
Rovers remaining strong
Asian Handicap angle appeals
Sheffield United v Blackburn
Sunday March 19, 12:00
Live on ITV
Sheff Utd pick up vital victory
Sheffield United consolidated their place in the Championship's top-two on Wednesday night as the Blades moved six points clear of the chasing pack with an impressive 2-1 triumph at Sunderland. Goals from James McAtee and Tommy Doyle secured top honours at the Stadium of Light, a welcome return after four defeats in their previous six fixtures.
Paul Heckingbottom's focus has now turned towards trying to reach Wembley and the Sheff Utd supremo has said his side will approach Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final with total freedom, as he guides the club through a potentially "historic" week. The Blades boss was keen to stress his squad would be "giving everything" as they aim to reach the final-four.
Heckingbottom said, "In the cup, we can go about things with a lot more freedom and be a lot less anxious. That's the way we are planning to continue. This could be a really historic period for the lads and the club as a whole. We want to embrace it. Soak it up. Enjoy it and show what we can do. We'll be putting everything into Sunday's match to try and progress."
Blackburn pinch precious points late on
Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson said Rovers found a 'brilliant answer' to respond with a 2-1 win over Reading at Ewood Park.
The Ewood Park outfit went ahead early on through Ben Brereton Diaz but were pegged back midway through the second half, and at that stage were staring at a frustrating night having missed a host of chances to extend the lead.
However, Ryan Hedges came off the bench to pinch a priceless three points to keep Blackburn comfortably inside the Championship's play-off places.
The result marked a 13th home league win of the campaign - the most Rovers have achieved in any season since relegation from the Premier League, with attention now turning towards the FA Cup.
Speaking post-match, Tomasson said: "At this stage in the league, every win feels more important. It was great to bounce back. We could've won 6-1 but we continued to show belief and togetherness and it's paid off - we are just extremely pleased to get the three points and now we're looking forward to the challenge of Sunday."
This is the first FA Cup meeting between Sheff Utd and Blackburn since the 1992/93 quarter-final, with the Blades progressing on penalties in a replay.
Rovers haven't overturned United in this competition since 1897 and have posted just W0-D1-L6 in trips to Bramall Lane since 1994. However, Blackburn did beat the Blades in their recent Championship clash.
Sheffield United 1.684/6 have won 13 of their last 16 FA Cup fixtures (W13-D0-L3) as hosts and are the third-most potent Championship club at home this season. Even so, the Blades recent form hasn't completely convinced with United returning only W3-D0-L4 in recent league outings, winning only half of their second-tier showdowns in 2023.
Blackburn 6.005/1 haven't reached the FA Cup semi-finals since 2007, and not since playing outside the top-flight since 1958 but 6,000 Rovers fans head to Bramall Lane on Sunday hoping to see Jon Dahl Tomasson's troops win a fourth successive FA Cup tie on their travels. The visitors have W6-D4-L2 in Championship contests this calendar year.
Neither Sheff Utd nor Blackburn have proven particularly prolific for goals-based backers this season. Under 2.5 Goals 1.9210/11 and Both Teams To Score 'No' 1.9420/21 has provided plenty of profit with the latter landing in 44/74 (59%) of the duos combined Championship clashes; the pair have collectively kept 29 (39%) clean sheets across the league campaign.
A repeat holds plenty of appeal, although the market feels a little too skewed in Sheffield United's favour here considering only nine points separate the sides in league form.
As highlighted above, the Blades have wobbled a little of late, whilst Blackburn have continued to defy data projections to cement their place in the Championship's top-six.
With Sheff Utd just too short to support, it makes sense to back Blackburn +1 Asian Handicap here at 1.768/11 quotes knowing a one-goal defeat for Rovers will see our stake returned as a push. Should the visitors win or draw in 90 minutes, our selection will pay-out.