The Championship promotion push is at risk of becoming a formality unless Burnley and Sheffield United can be brought to a halt. As things currently stand, Vincent Kompany’s Clarets are running away with things at the summit, some 17 points ahead of third, while Sheff Utd boast a 10-point cushion in the top two.
That third place is currently being occupied by Middlesbrough, who have enjoyed a promotion resurgence under mid-season appointment Michael Carrick. The former Manchester United and England midfielder has masterminded 11 wins from his opening 15 games since replacing Chris Wilder in October.
The result of that purple patch has seen Boro rise from middling Championship dwellers, to serious promotion candidates. The Blades meanwhile are enjoying relative comfort in second, with a 10-point buffer separating them from Wednesday’s opponents, but a defeat to Boro would just bring an element of doubt, and could swing the pendulum.
This is, therefore, a six-pointer that could prove potentially season-defining for both of these clubs.
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Sheffield United vs Middlesbrough match stats
If Boro are going to upset the apple cart and reduce the yawning gap currently standing between themselves and the automatic promotion places, then the form of Chuba Akpom will be crucial to their aspirations. The former Arsenal marksman currently leads the Championship’s Golden Boot race with 16 goals.
For Sheff Utd, Iliman Ndiaye will be their talismanic force going forward. The fleet-footed and potent attacker is currently Paul Heckingbottom’s top goal-getter with 10 strikes this campaign. He also has seven assists, which is the most of any Championship player this term, underlining his final-third versatility.
Sheffield United vs Middlesbrough: Squawka Says
Scoreline prediction: Sheffield United 1-1 Middlesbrough
14 Aug 2022 – Middlesbrough 2-2 Sheffield United – Championship
08 Mar 2022 – Sheffield United 4-1 Middlesbrough – Championship
28 Sep 2021 – Middlesbrough 2-0 Sheffield United – Championship
13 Feb 2019 – Sheffield United 1-0 Middlesbrough – Championship
07 Aug 2018 – Middlesbrough 3-0 Sheffield United – Championship
It was a frenetic affair when they two clubs met on matchday three of the 2022/23 Championship season. Carrick will take encouragement that Akpom found the back of the net twice against Sheff Utd under his predecessor Wilder, while Sander Berge and a Ryan Giles own goal saw the visitors take a point back to South Yorkshire.