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Preview: Leicester vs Sheffield United

Leicester City
vs.
Sheffield United

Walkers Stadium

26/12/09

6 p.m.

On Sky

Kevin Blackwell brings his in-form Sheffield United side to the Walkers Stadium later this evening as the Baldes look to build on their current seven-match unbeaten run.

United have won four of their last six matches to help push the team to within a place of Nigel Pearson's Foxes just outside the playoff positions, and now face a Leicester side fresh from a two week break after the postponement of last weekend's clash at Cardiff.

City head into the match having won their last match in comfortable fashion against Sheffield Wednesday, and now hope they can bring down the other half of the Steel City in front of the onlooking Sky cameras.

Leicester have not enjoyed the best of United in recent years, having won just two of the nine meetings between the two sides post-millenium.

The last tie came earlier in the season at Bramall Lane when the spoils were shared, despite City coming away from the match feeling as though they possibly should have taken home all three points.

Vital Quotes:

Leicester centre back Jack Hobbs: 'I hope 'the blip' is over, I really think so. We didn't turn up at Forest. Against Bristol City, I thought we were a bit unlucky because we played well and it was just two wonder goals that killed us off. Every team has a blip and if that is out blip then I'll take it and we will be back to winning ways.'

Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell: 'I tipped Leicester as a dark horse before the season began as they are still a big club - there will probably be around 30,000 there on Boxing Day - and they have a nice blend of youth and experience in their squad.

'They won promotion so came up with lots of confidence and understanding which you get with a winning side and they are a force to be reckoned with. It remains to be seen whether they will find the second half of the season tougher than the first.'

Leicester City Team News:

Steve Howard is set to continue his role up front alongside Matty Fryatt, as on-loan Sunderland striker Martyn Waghorn remains ruled out through suspension.

Bruno Bener is set to take his place at left back following a groin injury, with Pearson unlikely to make changes from the 3-0 victory over Wednesday.

Player to watch: Steve Howard

Fresh from scoring that long-awaited first goal of the season, Howard will be hungry for more alongside the man whom he helped score over 30 goals last season in Matty Fryatt.

When on form Howard is without doubt an important player for City, and manager Nigel Pearson will be hoping his big forward is on the money against the Blades today.

Sheffield United Team News:

Sheffield United remain without the services of Lee Williamson and Darius Henderson, as both face struggles to be back before the end of January.

Ched Evans and Andy taylor joined in training this week following illness and an ear infection respectively, and could make Kevin Blackwell's starting lineup.

The Blades were unable to retain the services of Fulham's Finnish defender Toni Kallio, so Blackwell will be forced into at least oone change from the side which took hoem a point at Loftus Road.

Player to watch: Kyle Walker

The full-back on loan from Tottenham impressed earlier in the season when the two sides met at Bramall Lane, and remains the only ever-present for Kevin Blackwell this season, starting every match.

At only 19 years of age, Walker has already established himself as an impressive Championship player, and certainly remains one to watch for the future.

Match Facts & Stats

- Leicester's record against United is weak, having won just two of the last nine meetings between the two sides.

- The Blades have won just once away at Leicester in 13 years, however.

- City are looking to make it ten consecutive scoring league games.

- Their last Boxing Day defeat came five years ago, with a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of lowly Rotherham.

Match Prediction:

It could be a long evening. Howard and Fryatt playing poorly? Leicester 0-2 Sheffield United. Howard and Fryatt playing well? Leicester 1-0 Blades.

Next Fixtures:

Monday 28th December:

Leicester: Doncaster (A)

Sheffield United: Preston (H)


Writer:JBFox
Date:Saturday December 26 2009
Time: 12:54PM

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