Another week, another derby with this time, Rotherham making the short trip to Hillsborough to take on Sheffield Wednesday. It’s also the kick off of the FA Cup for most of our teams, but will there be any shocks?
Star Sport’s Chris Holt, once again, attempts to call the outcome of this weekend’s fixtures.
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY v ROTHERHAM UNITED
There was always going to be some hype around this game and while Wednesday fans will say that it’s a bigger deal for the Millers than it is for them, it’s still an eagerly-awaited game. And it has come to have even greater significance in recent weeks due to the Owls’ severe drop in form which means Steve Evans’ men can draw level with Wednesday should they come out on top at Hillsborough. Through no fault of his own, really, all eyes will be on Stevie May who opted to join Stuart Gray at S6 rather than his fellow Scot across the motorway, during the summer and with his goal/game ratio not - at this point - justifying his £800,000 fee, here is an ideal opportunity for May to show his worth. Wednesday need goals, May needs to start showing he’s the one who can regularly get them and with Evans, though very much tongue-in-cheek, stating that he hopes the striker ‘has an absolute stinker’ it’s set up for the former St Johnstone man to shine...and I think he will.
PREDICTION: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Rotherham 0
Crewe Alexandra v SHEFFIELD UNITED
United fans can begin to get misty-eyed in this one. Firstly, they go to a venue which turned out to be the nadir of their season as having lost 3-0 to Crewe at Gresty Road the Blades would go on an incredible eight-match unbeaten run (seven wins and a draw) that took them out of the relegation zone and sparked admittedly over-ambitious talk of a play-off push. We’re also at the first round of the FA Cup, the beginning of an unbelievable adventure experienced by United last year which took them all the way to Wembley, seeing off Aston Villa, Fulham, Nottingham Forest and Charlton along the way, before succumbing to Hull City in the capital. Back in the present, Nigel Clough’s men go into this latest clash with Crewe, whom they beat 1-0 a few weeks ago, stinging from a defeat to Barnsley at Bramall Lane last week. United played reasonably well but were found wanting up front. There are players capable of scoring though and sometimes, in this case Barnsley, you have to credit a team for defending well. I expect the Blades to bounce back, comfortably.
PREDICTION: Crewe 0 Sheffield United 2
BARNSLEY v Burton Albion
Barnsley should be buoyant after last week’s result at Bramall Lane and having seemingly sorted out that problem of throwing away leads, there will be enough confidence in the squad to go on a bit of a run now. Last week, they were impressive at the back but had very few chances, aside from the one taken by Sam Winnall, and that is likely to be a different story this time around at Oakwell. If Winnall is on his game, he could grab a couple here.
PREDICTION: Barnsley 2 Burton Albion 0
Weston-Super-Mare v DONCASTER ROVERS
If the forecast is right, it could be a stormy day on the coast and for league teams taking on minnows, all you want to do is get in and out as quick as you can with the least possible fuss. It should be easy enough for Rovers, but I’d imagine Paul Dickov would gladly take any sort of win and look forward to the next test. No upsets this time around.
PREDICTION: Weston-Super-Mare 0 Doncaster Rovers 2
Braintree v CHESTERFIELD (Sunday)
Unlike the above game, this isn’t quite a ‘get the job done’ mission for Chesterfield, though of course that will be the ultimate priority. With Spireites having gone on a poor run of late, this match could be the ideal opportunity to inject some much-needed confidence back into Paul Cook’s strugglers. They shouldn’t have too much to worry about and an early goal could see them bag quite a few.
Prediction: Braintree 1 Chesterfield 3