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Preview: Sheffield United vs Nottingham Forest – latest team, injury news and predicted XI

Sheffield United host Nottingham Forest this afternoon for the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final, with both sides hopeful of making it to the Premier League.

The Blades could secure promotion back to the top-flight at the first time of asking after last season’s relegation, whereas Forest haven’t been amongst English football’s elite for 23 years.

Paul Heckingbottom and his players will be particularly cautious that they don’t make a mistake which could cost them the tie after the first leg, but how are the South Yorkshire outfit looking ahead of today’s clash?

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Where did Sheffield United finish last season?

Injury news

As per Nottinghamshire Live, Blades captain Billy Sharp is edging closer to a return, with Heckingbottom stating: “Bill’s another few days closer. We’d like him to be (available), if he’s able to play some part in the tie. If he’s not ready, he’s not ready. He is doing all he can and the staff are doing all they can to make sure there is that opportunity.”

Meanwhile, both Morgan Gibbs-White and George Baldock appear to be available, whilst long-term absentees Rhian Brewster, Jayden Bogle, Oli McBurnie and Jack O’Connell all remain sidelined.

Sheffield United predicted XI

After a thumping 4-0 victory over Championship winners Fulham on the final day to secure a play-off spot, whether or not Heckingbottom will make changes to that side for today’s match is up for debate.

Here is how Football FanCast expects the Blades to line up against Nottingham Forest…

Sheffield United XI: Foderingham, Basham, Egan, Robinson, Baldock, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens, Berge, Gibbs-White, Ndiaye

With uncertainty as to whether or not Sharp will be fit to make the squad, we don’t expect the striker to be ready to start this afternoon.

The only change from the victory over Fulham comes at right-wing-back, with Baldock taking the place of Ben Osborn.

With the 29-year-old now appearing to be fully fit after only being able to make the bench last weekend, he returns to the starting line-up to make his first appearance in almost a month.

Labelled “superb” by BBC pundit Garth Crooks after a goal against Norwich City in the 2019/20 season, the £23k-per-week Englishman is a kingpin for the Blades and deserves to feature in their biggest match of the season so far.

The decision would arguably be harsh on Osborn, whose last goal for United came in a 3-2 victory at Barnsley in October, a game which the wing-back described as “mad”.

Having gone through the youth ranks at Nottingham Forest and joined the Blades from the Reds, the 27-year-old has had a solid season, making 34 appearances in the Championship.

Will Sheffield United beat Nottingham Forest today?

Yes

Yes

No

No

However, being predominantly a left-sided player, Baldock pips the £2.2m-rated Derby native to a place in the starting lineup now that he is fit.

It’s a crunch game for both sides, who will be looking to get themselves one step closer to Wembley after today’s showdown at Bramall Lane.

AND in other news: This is the Forest predicted XI that FFC is forecasting

Article title: Preview: Sheffield United vs Nottingham Forest – latest team, injury news and predicted XI

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