It’s safe to say that Sheffield United need to come back fighting tonight after their miserable performance and result at Coventry City at the weekend.
The Blades simply ran out of steam against the Sky Blues and offered little in the way of the attacking threat and defensive resilience which has served the team so well recently. Manager Paul Heckingbottom will be expecting a response from his team, despite the plethora of injuries around the squad.
But what of Blackpool, and is this a game United can look to win? Well, like with any Championship fixture, it is a winnable tie for the Blades. If United turn up and play as well as they can, then even with so many out, they should have too much for Neil Critchley’s in-form side.
However, United do need to be wary. Blackpool are a team who pride themselves on being solid and difficult to break down. But within that structure, they have their very own match-winning talent in the form of Josh Bowler. And just who comes out on top between him and Sheffield United’s Morgan Gibbs-White, could be the deciding factor tonight.
Josh Bowler A Big Blackpool Threat To Sheffield United
23-year-old Bowler has taken time to get going in his career but seems to have found the right environment with Blackpool. In fact, such is his form, that a number of Premier League clubs, including Leicester, are said to be tracking the winger ahead of the summer.
This season has seen Bowler hit seven goals from his wide position. Quite worryingly for United, six of those seven have come in the last eight games. This is a man in form, and very much like the Blades’ Gibbs-White, he is a match-winner for Blackpool. The Blades ace has scored eight for United this term, and contributed directly to six goals in his last six games.
Indeed, Bowler caused problems for table-topping Fulham. After that game, Neil Critchley spoke of his admiration for Bowler and why Fulham feared him.
“I thought he was outstanding on Saturday. You could tell they had a lot of respect for him when he had the ball. He nearly scored in the first half when he hit the crossbar, it was a good finish for the goal and he’s been brilliant for us,” Critchley told the Blackpool Gazette at the time. The Seasiders boss also admitted recently he leaves Bowler on in the hope of those big moments coming along.
Bowler, then, is a man in form. And if he can cause issues for the very best team in this division, then he’s certainly someone United need to keep an eye on tonight. Ultimately, it could be a moment of magic that wins this game.
Sheffield United fans, then, will hope that moment comes from Gibbs-White, and not from the Blackpool star.