Mark Lawrenson has apologised to Sheffield United fans in his latest predictions for BBC Sport.

If Lawro had gotten all of his Blades guesses correct this season, they would be third from bottom going into this weekend’s match with Brighton and Hove Albion.

Instead they are sixth in the Premier League and could rise as high as fourth if they win on Saturday. They also have 39 points instead of the 19 Lawrenson predicts.

For United’s last game before the winter break – a 2-1 victory over Bournemouth – the BBC pundit predicted a defeat. Even with the benefit of seeing their previous results, Lawro still wasn’t budging.

Yet it seems he has now had a change of heart and has admitted the error of his ways.

“They are extremely consistent – far more so than most of the teams immediately around them. It has helped to keep them in the top half since August and put them right in the race for European football,” he wrote in his column.

“For a promoted team not only is that consistency outstanding, it is also quite unusual. I take my hat off to them.

“I have not tipped them to win enough this season so I should apologise to all their fans now, because you know where I am going with this, and it will probably mean they get beaten on Saturday.”

The kiss of death from Mark Lawrenson

Chris Wilder

(Photo by Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images)

Before the season had started, many pundits had already written United off. The likes of Garth Crooks and Danny Mills were critical of their style of play – with their assessment making it seem like they had probably never actually seen them play under Chris Wilder.

Meanwhile, Adrian Durham said they were “not taking the Premier League seriously” with their summer signings.

While Blades fans understandably rolled their eyes at these comments, there is something galvanising about being written off. Wilder even admitted he pinned such criticism up on the dressing room wall to do just that.

When those same pundits are now praising United, that’s when supporters start to worry. The more superstitious among them might think that signals a home loss to Brighton.

Wilder and his players might have other thoughts.

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