2021-22 Championship Play-Off Semi-Finals: First Leg – Sheffield United vs Nottingham Forest

Sheffield United welcome Nottingham Forest to Bramall Lane in the first leg of their play-off semi-final in 2021-22 Sky Bet Championship. 

Victory for either team would put them in pole position to qualify for the Play-Off Final heading into the second leg at Forest on Tuesday (17 May) evening.

 

Team News

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George Baldock could start for Sheffield Utd after he was named as an unused substitute in last weekend’s victory over Fulham, following his recovery from a muscle injury.

Jack O’Connell, Charlie Goode, Jayden Bogle (all knee), Oli McBurnie (foot), David McGoldrick (thigh) and Rhian Brewster (hamstring) remain absent.

Forest could welcome Scott McKenna back into the line-up after he was an unused substitute in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Hull due to illness.

Jack Colback (groin) and Ryan Yates (shoulder) are doubts whilst Steve Cook will return after recovering from a concussion, which forced him to miss the trip to Hull.

Max Lowe (groin), Lewis Grabban and Keinan Davis (both hamstring) remains absent.

 

Stat Attack

  • Sheffield Utd are unbeaten in two previous play-off meetings against Forest (W1, D1), prevailing 5-4 on aggregate in their semi-final tie at end of 2002-03 season.
  • Forest lost their only previous Play-Off visit to Bramall Lane by a 4-3 result in May 2003 to crash out on aggregate (L1), after a 1-1 draw at home in the first leg.
  • Both regular-season meetings this campaign between Sheffield Utd and Forest finished in 1-1 draws, with the Blades scoring first on both occasions.
  • Paul Heckingbottom’s Blades have scored 63 goals when John Egan has been on the pitch this season, which is most goals scored when a single Utd player been been present on the pitch all campaign.
  • Ryan Yates has committed more fouls than any other Forest player this season, having produced 67 fouls in 43 league appearances.

 

Prediction

Having needed a final-day win to secure a play-off spot, Sheffield Utd displayed excellent passion and urgency to comfortably thrash Fulham but they now need to bring those work ethics to this match because it certainly has the potential to be a competitive game based on both clashes this season.

Forest meanwhile rested some key players at Hull so I am expecting them to come here looking fresh and ready to fight for the win, yet they will need to show more urgency to their attacking play than what was on show at Hull until injury-time if they’re to beat these tough Blades.

On that note, I do expect this to be another edgy encounter between two quality teams but if Sheffield Utd play like they did in the first leg, Forest will need a huge defensive performance to deny them but another draw seems a fair bet.

Prediction: Sheffield United 1-1 Nottingham Forest

Result: Sheffield United 1-2 Nottingham Forest

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