Bristol City could beat Sheffield United in Championship battle
Back Robins to cut down the Blades
Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports Football, 7.45pm Friday
The Blades were 10-1 for promotion before a ball was kicked this summer, while City were available at 12-1, but both have shown themselves to be genuine candidates, locked together on 37 points with only goal difference pushing the visitors up to third.
There clearly is not a great deal between them but City look in better shape and they can land a blow against the Blades, who have lacked inspiration since key midfielder Paul Coutts suffered a season-ending injury at Burton.
United lost 5-4 to Fulham in a game where two late consolation goals reduced the margin of defeat and the Blades created little in the disappointing 1-1 draw with Birmingham.
Excellent boss Chris Wilder was furious with his side's display in their 3-1 defeat at Millwall last week. They forced just two shots on target and none in the second half with skipper Billy Sharp dropped to the bench in a bid to change their fortunes.
It did not really work even though Sharp's replacement David Brooks scored a beauty and Wilder let rip at his players in the Den dressing-room, keeping the players behind for nearly 45 minutes.
Wilder may well get a positive reaction but United have kept only one clean sheet in ten games, while City have lost just three matches this season.
Lee Johnson's men have won six of their last eight in all competitions after also making excellent progress to the League Cup quarter-finals and moneybags Middlesbrough were quite comfortably beaten 2-1 at Ashton Gate last week.
City have scored at least twice in six of their last eight outings with Jamie Paterson and Bobby Reid causing plenty of problems for a Boro side who spent a fortune in the summer.
Injuries are beginning to bite but for the time being Johnson is finding solutions and it will be interesting to see whether wealthier clubs come in for some of his most prized assets in January.
Ten-goal Reid and Josh Brownhill are two players reportedly being considered by Premier League outfits and they help to make sure the Robins carry a punch going forward.
A 3-3 draw at top dogs Wolves was further evidence of City's attacking potential and that includes set-pieces, where dangerous defender Aden Flint has already helped himself to five goals.
Bristol City draw no bet
1pt 6-4 general
George Baldock could return but Paul Coutts, Ched Evans and Kieron Freeman are ruled out.
Jamie Paterson is doubtful, while Callum O'Dowda, Famara Diedhiou, Eros Pisano, Jens Hegeler and Gary O'Neil are out.
Bristol City have lost just one of their last 13 away matches.
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