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Jon Riley 11th May 2012 - 11:04

Blades to lack the cutting edge but still progress

Danny Wilson has a real selection crisis ahead of Sheffield United's play-off first leg against plucky Stevenage.

After Ched Evans' rape conviction, James Beattie's four game suspension and Will Hoskins' season ending injury the Blades gaffer now has just two senior strikers to choose from, Richard Cresswell and Chris Porter, and on loan youngster Michael O'Halloran - the former of which has yet to chalk for his adopted side.

It's a situation that Stevenage manager Gary Smith will be delighted about given Sheffield ended the season as the division's highest scorers. And it's made especially sweet for the treble-promotion chasing minnows given they were able to nick four points from their more illustrious opponents during the season.

Still the Blades do have threats all over the pitch. Lee Williamson has been firing them in all season coming in from the right, Cresswell and Porter are wily characters and Stephen Quinn and Kevin McDonald are always a headache for defenders from midfield. All are potential match winners and something Stevenage don't quite have the luxury of.

Smith does have good players but his team's main strength is hard work and an established team sheet. His players know exactly what they're striving for as a team and they are intelligent and organised enough to pull it off.

Patrick Agyemang (6/1 first goalscorer/ 7/4 anytime) was brought in as an extra body up front and he'll be hoping to terrorise the Blades defence, which is susceptible to conceding, while Scott Laird (7/2 anytime scorer) has proved a nightmare for Danny Wilson this year.

They also finished the season on blistering run of form that allowed them to snatch the final playoff place after getting over a post Christmas slump - so you can expect them to come out all guns blazing.

The problem is that it's just too hard seeing United's experienced heads succumbing to the pressure, especially when most of their team have plied their trade at a higher level.

They may be lacking the cutting edge from earlier in the year but they're solid enough to come away from Broadhall Way with something to work on for when the tie heads back to Bramall Lane on Monday.

A draw wouldn't be disastrous for either team and at 21/10 looks very nice while high scoring doesn't seem likely with under 1.5 goals in the game a bet at 9/4.

This one though should, (metaphorically) be decided in the Steel City, and if that's the case then it would be a steal getting 4/6 about the Blades taking the trip to Wembley in a few weeks time.


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