Why Reading game can edge Sheffield United closer to promotion

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Sheffield United are still harbouring hopes of a second successive promotion, with Chris Wilder’s men just two points outside the Championship play-offs.

If the Blades can bag three points at Reading tonight, they’ll head into the top six.

Experience

The South Yorkshire club have plenty of promotion pedigree within their ranks. As well as retaining a core of last season’s League One winning-squad, the likes of Billy Sharp and Leon Clarke have achieved the feat at multiple clubs.

Boss Chris Wilder has also won promotion with four of the five clubs he’s managed, including last season’s successful crop at Bramall Lane.

Home comforts

The Blades have made Bramall Lane something of a fortress this season, especially in recent times. Only three clubs can match the 10 home wins they’ve chalked up in 17 Championship games.

And that record is only likely to improve in the coming weeks, with their run-in looking pretty kind on paper.

The fixture list

Wilder’s men only have to face one of the top four in the final 12 games, but play three of the bottom four. That includes a visit to a Barnsley side who haven’t won in nine games at home, scoring just four times in the process.

As far as form goes, United also have the edge on several of the sides who sit just above them. Sixth-placed Bristol City are having a grim 2018, with just one league win in this calendar year.

And Derby County in fourth could still endure another one of their regular tumbles out of the top six.

Tuesday night showdown

Still, the Blades will have to keep their momentum up at the Madejski Stadium tonight.

Fans of the Yorkshire giants will be encouraged by the fact Reading are winless in four games. The Blades have also had bragging rights in this fixture, claiming victory in five of the past seven. There’s 7/5 on offer for a United win.

This tends to be an action-packed affair. Five of the last six clashes have produced three or more goals. And it’s 5/4 for Over 2.5 Goals in this meeting.

Local lad Billy Sharp grabbed United’s winner in October, as United lorded it over the Royals with a 2-1 triumph. The 32-year-old is 17/10 to Score Anytime in Berkshire.

Meanwhile, there are odds of 2/1 for the Blades to make the top-six come the end of the season. And it’s 10/1 they reach the Premier League at the first time of asking.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.