Bristol City head coach, Dean Holden, doesn’t think much has changed at Sheffield United this season.
That’s despite the fact the Blades are currently bottom of the Premier League table and 12 points from safety.
Last campaign – their first in the top flight in 12 years – there was never any genuine concern of relegation. United eventually secured their highest league position since 1992 by finishing ninth.
They only won their first game of 2020/21 on January 9, when they beat the Robins’ rivals Bristol Rovers 3-2 in the FA Cup third round.
In fairness, that has sparked something of a revival. The South Yorkshire side have won five of their last eight matches in all competitions.
Next up they face Holden’s team in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
“They’ve had a couple of years in the Premier League and did fantastic last season,” the 41-year-old told bcfc.co.uk. “They won 10 games by the odd goal last season, but a lot of the games they’ve lost this year have been by the odd goal. So it shows you the fine margins by comparison.
“They’re still a very good team by the way they play, their style and it’s a tough game for us. But it’s one players want to be involved in against a top manager with a good team.
“It’s about us getting back to our performance levels and showcasing what we are about and that’s why I’m looking forward to it.”
What to expect from Bristol City
After four years as assistant, Holden became caretaker boss at Ashton Gate in July when Lee Johnson was sacked.
He was offered the job on a full-time basis in August and has guided City to their current position of 10th in the Championship.
Yet they go into Wednesday’s cup tie at Bramall Lane having lost their last three games.
The Robins have also had injury problems throughout this term – which is something their Premier League hosts can sympathise with.
The West Country outfit may even be able to beat the Blades for fitness problems, though, with 12 players currently side-lined for various reasons.
FA Cup victories have proven to be a kick-starter for United this season. They won their first league game of 2020/21 straight after the win against Rovers when they beat Newcastle United 1-0.
They after triumphing against Plymouth Argyle in the fourth round, they then secured a shock 2-1 victory at Manchester United.
Therefore, expect the Blades to go strong again. As not only would a win book them a place in the quarters-finals, but will set them up nicely for visiting West Ham United on Monday.