Sheffield United-Wolverhampton Preview
Paul Heckingbottom has warned Sheffield United's underperformers they are playing for their futures between now and the end of the season, beginning with Saturday's trip to Wolves.
The Blades' relegation fate could be confirmed this weekend should they lose at Molineux and Newcastle United beat West Ham earlier in the day.
Heckingbottom has overseen three successive league defeats since taking over from Chris Wilder last month, with United conceding 10 goals and scoring just once in reply.
United's hopes of survival may be all but over, but the caretaker boss insisted each member of his squad still have something to prove over the next month.
"You're always being judged," he said. "As I've mentioned before, the next manager will be watching these games, 100 per cent. But they'll have also watched many games from the past. That's how it works. They'll then make their mind up on first impressions.
"Everyone's circumstances are different, but one thing that's for sure is that you're always being judged."
Wolves have also endured a disappointing 2020-21 campaign, albeit one that could yet end with them finishing in the top half of the division.
Nuno Espirito Santo's men ended a five-game winless run with a late 1-0 victory at Fulham last weekend and the Portuguese is pleased with the character showed by his side.
"We had to work hard for that," he said. "What I looked at from the game was the way we worked and approached it. I'm very happy for the boys because the response to previous results was really good."
Wolves - Adama Traore
The pacey winger has finally regained some form in recent weeks after assisting a goal in the 3-2 loss to West Ham and scoring the winner against Fulham late on last time out. The assist against West Ham ended a run of 35 Premier League games for Traore without a direct goal involvement, and he will now be eager to push on against a defensively-weak Sheffield United.
Sheffield United - David McGoldrick
With Billy Sharp and Oli McBurnie this week being ruled out for the season, United are now down to their bare bones in terms of attacking options. McGoldrick has six goals in 28 league games this term, making him the club's top scorer, and a lot will be asked of the ex-Republic of Ireland international over the coming weeks.
- Wolves are looking to secure their first league double over Sheffield United since the 2013-14 League One campaign, following their 2-0 win at Bramall Lane earlier this season.
- United have won just one of their last 13 away league games against Wolves (D6 L6) and are winless in seven at Molineux since a 3-1 victory in October 2002.
- The hosts are looking to win consecutive Premier League games for just the third time this season. However, they have lost their last two home games in the competition, last losing three in a row at Molineux in November 2018.
- United have won just four points from a possible 45 away from home in the Premier League this season (W1 D1 L13) and have netted just seven times.
- The Blades' 25 league defeats this campaign is just one off their record number of defeats in a league season, having previously lost 26 times in both 1975-76 (out of 42 games) and 2010-11 (46 games).
Updated April 16, 2021