What are the likely line-ups? Who are the key men? Sheffield United v Preston - All you need to know

Preston head to Bramall Lane on Saturday with both sides knowing it is win or bust for their play-off hopes.

Friday, 27th April 2018, 5:00 pm
John Fleck comes under pressure from Alan Browne.

From likely line-ups to key men and the referee, all you need to know about the crunch Championship clash can be found below.

Likely line-ups

Sheffield United: Blackman, Baldock, Leonard, Stearman, O'Connell, Lafferty, Fleck, Evans, Duffy, Sharp, Clarke.

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Billy Bodin in action during the FA Cup tie at Bramall Lane in January.

PNE: Rudd, Fisher, Clarke, Davies, Cunningham, Pearson, Browne, Barkhuizen, Harrop, Robinson, Maguire.

Key Men

John Fleck - United’s most consistent performer this year. Keeps Chris Wilder’s side ticking over and when he plays well, the Blades tend to play well too. Can do it all - a tough tackler and good ball-player. More goals and he could be a Premier League player.

Sean Maguire - Will wonder how he missed his header in the second half of the 0-0 draw with Norwich on Saturday but with goals and a spark what is required to keep North End’s season alive, the Irish livewire looks the most likely to be at the heart of that.

Chris Wilder looks on during Sheffield United's FA Cup win over PNE earlier in the season

In the opposing dugout

Chris Wilder - Born in Stocksbridge, it was Sheffield United – the club he supported as a boy – who gave him his first-team chance after he had been a trainee at Southampton. He made more than 100 appearances for them before going on to serve seven clubs. Wilder returned to Bramall Lane for a brief spell in the 1998/99 season and finished his career with Halifax. His first job in management was at Alferton, and he went on to be boss at Halifax, Oxford, Northampton, before coming back to manage the Blades in 2016.


James Linington - The Isle of Wight official will take charge for North End’s visit to Sheffield United. It is the third time this Mr Linington has refereed PNE this season. He was in the middle for the 2-1 win against Hull City at the KCOM Stadium in September and then December’s 1-0 victory at Cardiff. This will be his 39th game of the season, in which he has shown 133 yellow cards and just five red. Mr Linington officiated the Blades’ 5-4 home defeat to Fulham in November.

Billy Bodin in action during the FA Cup tie at Bramall Lane in January.

This week in PNE history

66 years ago: On April 26, 1952, PNE beat Liverpool 4-0 at Deepdale. Charlie Wayman netted twice, with Tom Finney and Angus Morrison also on the scoresheet.

31 years ago: Preston won 2-0 against Tranmere at Deepdale on April 28, 1987, to celebrate promotion in style. They had gone up three days earlier at Orient, this the perfect ‘homecoming’, with Gary Brazil and John Thomas on target.

28 years ago: Goals from full-backs Neil Williams and Gary Swann gave North End a 2-0 win over Swansea on April 28, 1990. The visitors played in PNE’s away kit after arriving with the wrong strip.

Chris Wilder looks on during Sheffield United's FA Cup win over PNE earlier in the season

22 years ago: North End won the Third Division title thanks to a 2-0 win at Hartlepool on April 27, 1996. Simon Davey and Andy Saville found the net.