It’s all set for a huge clash at Bramall Lane this week as Sheffield United welcome Steve Bruce and West Brom in the Championship.
A win for United would see them go level on points with the Baggies. Albion currently occupy sixth spot in the Championship and it would very much be a welcome win for Paul Heckingbottom’s side. The Blades face a number of selection calls themselves. Rhian Brewster is expected to be out for the season, but Morgan Gibbs-White could be back in contention to start against the Baggies.
However, for West Brom, things aren’t looking quite as bright, with Bruce admitting that two former Blades in Kyle Bartley and Matty Phillips are set to miss out on selection for the big game.
“Unfortunately we have a couple of issues in terms of fitness ahead of the game. We might have lost Kyle Bartley because he is sick and Matty Phillips because he has a foot injury. We don’t know the extent of it at this moment in time,” Bruce told WBA’s official site today.
“It’s part and parcel of the game. We’re going to pick up injuries along the way.”
Phillips and Bartley both enjoyed loan spells with United back in the 10/11 and 11/12 seasons respectively. Phillips, in particular, is well-remembered for a blistering few games when he joined alongside Billy Clarke.
Our View: Phillips And Bartley Losses Equally Important For United
There’s no denying that Albion being without Bartley and Phillips is a boost for Sheffield United.
In terms of attacking, Phillips is key for WBA. His speed and power can worry any defence in the Championship and the old concerns about former players scoring against us are now dismissed.
With Bartley, this is also massive. We saw how Albion peppered balls into the penalty area against us last time and put simply, United couldn’t handle it. Bartley’s height was massive in that, so he’s a big loss for the Baggies.
Sometimes, winning a game can be about fine marins or mentality. Certainly, the loss of Phillips and Bartley is a huge bonus for United.