Blades will edge Owls

Blades v Owls....Owls Reda Johnson keeps an eye on Blades Richard Cresswell
Blades v Owls....Owls Reda Johnson keeps an eye on Blades Richard Cresswell

I still expect my old club Sheffield United to win the race for automatic promotion - but I do think Wednesday will push them all the way.

For me, Wednesday are looking a bit ominous with a strong, powerful squad. I don’t think they are as pleasing on the eye as United. But I do wonder if, towards the end of the season when it’s mainly about getting results, it will be a more effective way of playing.

Yes, they appear to be playing more football under Dave Jones but you always seem to get a honeymoon period under a new manager. It didn’t seem to me that Gary Megson was doing a bad job and it’s a question of whether they can sustain this form. Maybe Milan Mandaric saw something in Jones that could take the team up a level.

A new manager coming in raises the bar and players know they will be judged. It’s a case of whether there’s enough quality to see the job through.

A lot depends on the pysychological battle and United’s squad will have to be tough mentally. Certain players with experience will have to step up to the plate to help the younger ones over the line.

If they do, I’m optimistic they will pip Wednesday. And, of course, it’s important that key players like Ched Evans stay clear of injury. Some of the players there found the Championship a bit beyond their ability but it’s clear the self-belief is back.

Promotion would stand them all in good stead. Take Ched, for instance. He might not be playing against such good players now but you can only beat what’s in front of you and he looks to have a good all-round game.

Ched has the pedigree of coming from Manchester City and you need a stand-out striker like him to win promotion. But I also feel Richard Cresswell has done very well alongside him. His experience has been the glue for the front-line.

Another thing you need is for the fans to match the patient, probing football the team are playing. I watched the home game last month with Wycombe who just came to park the bus. United got 1-0 up and the only disappointing thing for me was that the fans got impatient for more.

You can get countered from that position if you’re not careful and it was pleasing for me to see the team stick to their game and finish strongly as 3-0 winners.

@Deanobri1968 was talking to @AlanBiggs1. Follow them both on Twitter.

Next week: Lee Bullen (@BullenFootball)