Lowdown on Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United's Championship rivals & top six predictions
Reporters who cover the clubs involved give their views on the Championship promotion race is moving into the home straight, starting this weekend when action resumes after the international break. © Getty Images Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United are both pushing for a place in the top six With just six points separating eight teams from Luton in third to Millwall in 10th, it promises to be a rollercoaster run-in.
© Provided by Football League World FA Cup Third Round - Wolverhampton Wanderers v Sheffield United
Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has insisted that whilst he is happy with the progress that Chris Basham is making in his road to recovery, he has refused to put a timescale on when the defender will be ready to return to action.
Basham suffered an issue with his knee in February and has been forced to watch on from the sidelines for the club’s recent fixtures.
In the absence of the defender, the Blades have managed to produce some impressive performances in the Championship.
Victories over Blackburn Rovers, Middlesbrough, Barnsley and Queens Park Rangers at Bramall Lane have allowed Heckingbottom’s side to climb up to sixth in the second-tier standings.
All the early Sheffield United team news ahead of Stoke clash on Saturday
Sheffield United host Stoke City at Bramall Lane in Sky Bet Championship action this weekend. The Blades currently sit fifth in the Championship league table, two points clear of Middlesbrough in seventh place. Middlesbrough though, have two games in hand over the Blades. With that being said, here is all the early team news we […]The Blades currently sit fifth in the Championship league table, two points clear of Middlesbrough in seventh place.
The Blades will be looking to retain their spot in the play-off places this weekend by securing all three points in their showdown with AFC Bournemouth.
United know that they will have to be at their very best in this particular fixture as the Cherries are currently in the driving seat to secure the second automatic promotion spot in the Championship.
Ahead of this fixture, Heckingbottom has shared an update on Basham.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Post about whether a date has been set out regarding the defender’s return to senior action, Heckingbottom said: “There’s no timescale, but we’re happy with where he is.
“He’s happy too.
“He’s out twisting and turning, not flat out yet but it’s different to a muscle injury.
“The last thing he does will be block tackles and really striking a ball.
Paul Heckingbottom reveals his approach to run-in at Sheffield United
Paul Heckingbottom is not taking anything for granted despite Sheffield United’s outstanding form since the turn of the year. The Blades are in an excellent position to kick on and at least cement a play-off spot in the remaining eight games of the season, with the top two dream not completely out of sight if […]The Blades are in an excellent position to kick on and at least cement a play-off spot in the remaining eight games of the season, with the top two dream not completely out of sight if they can win every game.
“So once he’s done that, he’ll be fit and available.”
Whereas there is still uncertainty regarding when Basham will feature again for the Blades in the Championship, the news that he is making progress is encouraging.
Providing that United are able to secure a place in the play-offs in May, the defender could go on to play a key role in the club’s quest to secure promotion via a trip to Wembley Stadium.
In the 24 league games that he has participated in this season, Basham has averaged a respectable WhoScored match rating of 6.94 in the Championship.
More than capable of delivering the goods on a consistent basis at this level, the defender will be determined to help his side secure an immediate return to the Premier League next month.
The state of play in the Championship automatic and play-off races .
Pep Guardiola said the Championship is 'probably the hardest second division in the world', and he has been proven right this season with as many as 10 teams battling it out to get promoted.Who said that, you ask? It was none other that Pep Guardiola, the king of winning trophies. He knows exactly how difficult it is to achieve success in football. He is also absolutely correct.