Blades look for winning consolation

Mark Smith: 'Players have worked hard for this.         Picture: Steve Ellis
Mark Smith: 'Players have worked hard for this. Picture: Steve Ellis

AMIDST the doom and gloom of relegation from The Championship, there is the opportunity to finish the season with some silverware on the Sheffield United sideboard.

Not one but two opportunities, in fact, and the first of those is this afternoon at Bramall Lane in a last-game, title showdown.

It is, of course, the smallest of consolations when the first team has had such a disastrous season, but success at any level of a football club has to be welcomed.

The Blades reserves have the chance to win the Reserve League Central Division title when they take on Derby County this afternoon (2pm).

To do so, United must win. If they don’t then leaders Derby will be champions and retain the title they won a year ago.

The Blades’ second string - which includes their Norwegian players Erik Tonne and Kris Lokberg - stand three points behind Derby but they have a better goal difference so a win would see United finish top.

United ensured they would have a better goal difference by winning their last game 6-0 against Port Vale. Before that they had beaten Rotherham United 4-1.

Reserve team coach Mark Smith said they knew there would be the chance of finishing top if they could win the final three games.

“It was like a three-game, mini-season and the players bought into this,” he said. “We beat Rotherham and Port Vale and now it comes down to this last game.

“It would be nice if we could end a good campaign with something and this is the chance.

“They have worked hard for this opportunity and it is always nice for players and the club to win something, win a title, even if it is in the reserves.”

Admission is only £2 and £1 concessions.

The club is also gearing up for the FA Youth Cup Final against Manchester United for what will be the Blades’ first appearance in this prestigious final.

The first leg, at the Lane on Tuesday, May 17 is being treated by the club like a first team game for attendance purposes with huge interest in the game.

A five figure gate is expected with considerable interest in the game generated not just amongst Blades followers but also across the wider South Yorkshire footballing community. Man United fans will be accommodated on the usual ‘away end’.

The second leg will be at Old Trafford on Monday, May 23.