Thanks to Blades fan Chris Davis-Smith for taking the time to answer our questions about high-flying Sheffield United. You can find him on Twitter @ChrisDavisSmith
How’s the season gone for Sheffield United so far?
Although we’ve fallen away since Paul Coutts broke his leg, I don’t think many Blades would complain about how this season’s gone. To be in with a chance of reaching the play-offs at this stage of the campaign in our first year back in the Championship shows how well Chris Wilder has done.
We just need to try and build some momentum up for the final run-in of fixtures, but as we’ve discovered, if you aren’t at your best you’ll be found out at at this level.
Do you have any fond memories of ties between the two clubs down the years?
Over the years, Reading have always been a bogey side for us, so apart from beating the Royals earlier this season, I don’t particularly have any fond memories of playing against them.
Any not so fond ones?
I’ve watched Reading beat the Blades many times over the years, both home and away, but arguably the most painful occasion was when we lost 2-1 at the Madejski in 2005/2006. I’m sure Royals fans will remember this being the year you won the division, whilst we finished as runners-up in the Championship.
Brynjar Gunnarsson scored a heart breaking late winner on this day, his second of the afternoon, in what was a fiercely competitive game. For me, this result gave Reading the psychological edge over us and inspired them to go on and take the division by storm.
Who’s the dangerman that Reading should be looking out for?
Our form collectively has been quite inconsistent of late, but for me, one player in particular has performed week in week out in this period. Even when things aren’t going his way, Mark Duffy has the ability to create something out of nothing, and can pose a threat to anybody. His ability to turn a player or spot a pass nobody else has seen definitely makes him one to watch.
Any weaknesses in this Blades side that Reading should look to exploit?
I think if Reading can exploit our lack of pace defensively, they’ll stand a greater chance of beating us. Although our wing backs are quite fast, down the spine I wouldn’t say we’re blessed with speed, so this is an area the Royals could capitalise on.
How do you see the game going, and what will the score be?
I know Reading have drawn a lot of matches lately, and I can see this one being a tight affair. I think Sheffield United’s players will be dying to prove Chris Wilder wrong after he effectively ruled out their chances of finishing in the top six following Friday night’s disappointing loss at Hull.
If we’re as poor as we were at the KCOM, Reading will win comfortably. However, I can’t imagine we’ll be that bad for two consecutive games, so I’m hoping the squad responds positively. My prediction is a 2-1 away win.