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Sheffield United - View


Come snow, fog or freezing temperatures, we here at prideofnottingham.co.uk never give up. With the game truly at the perils of the weather, we decided to plough on as we speak to Sheffield United fan Martin to give us his views on tomorrows match. With Notts not having played a game since the very first day of January, focus remains on the blades consistent, but stuttering form. Sheffield United sit a whole 11 points above Notts in the League Table but Martin tells us why he will be happy with a draw…

Firstly, could you tell prideofnottingham.co.uk a little about yourself such as how long you've been a fan for?

I’m Martin, 24, and have been watching United since I was a kid in the mid-90s. I’ve had a season ticket every season since 2000.

What are your earliest memories as a fan, do you have any strong recollections of past games?

My first match and the earliest I can remember was a Coca Cola Cup game against Stockport County at Bramall Lane in September 1996. It was a Tuesday night, we lost 5-2 and I was hooked!

Other games that stand out are the FA Cup and League Cup games in 2002/03, where we reached the semi finals of both and knocked out teams such as Leeds and Sunderland, and also beat Liverpool 2-1 at Bramall Lane.

During your time supporting the Blades can you tell us your best memory and what you would prefer to forget about?

Best memory would be promotion to the Premiership in 2005/06. We won away at Cardiff on Good Friday which meant Leeds had to beat Reading the following day, which they were doing until Reading scored a late equaliser and sealed our promotion.

The play-off final against Huddersfield last season is the one I try to forget about. It was the third play-off final in a row we haven’t scored in and looked to have done it if we’d have scored our third penalty. Then it all went wrong before goalkeeper Steve Simonsen blazed over the bar. The fact we lost out on automatic promotion to our biggest rivals before losing in the play-offs made it worse.

Sheffield United's recent games haven't quite gone as probably expect since losing to Hartlepool United, How are your fans reacting to these past results?

Understandably the fans aren’t too happy at losing two home games in a row to sides we should really be too strong for at home. I think a lot of Blades are more concerned with the style of play, as we’ve gone a lot more direct in our play lately. Danny Wilson has resorted to blaming the pitch which has antagonised a lot of the fans, as visiting teams have coped fine.

Can you single out your main threats to Notts County, who has been your best performers this season?

Prior to his season-ending injury I would have named Shaun Miller for both parts of this question, as he’s the most naturally gifted finisher I feel we have at the club. Since his injury I would go with Tony McMahon. He’s scored directly from three kicks in recent weeks and often puts in good crosses for Dave Kitson and others to attack.

If the game goes ahead, how do you feel you will do against Notts County?

Based on current form and how we’ve been playing I would happily take a point before the game. If I had to make a prediction I’d go with a score draw.

How many times have you visited or seen Notts County play Sheffield United?

Twice, and the Blades won both games rather comfortably. My first and only visit to Meadow Lane to watch United was when we won 5-2 last season. The other was the JPT game live on Sky this season.

What are your hopes for the rest of the season?

I’d have to say automatic promotion is the main aim, and anything less will be seen as a failure when you consider our resources compared to the rest of the teams in the league. I think I speak for most Blades fans when I saw we want to avoid the play-offs at all costs!

Who do you consider to be the player you have seen play for Sheffield United or any opposition?

Presume this means best player? In my time watching United I’d have to say James Beattie. He was scoring for fun in 07/08 and early 08/09. For an opposing side it would definitely be from the Premiership season. Take your pick from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gerrard, Lampard and Drogba etc.

Is there any pressure from the fans or the board with regards to Danny Wilson?

Hard to say in terms of the board. I would guess not at the moment due to us probably not having the money to sack him if we wanted to! The fan opinion is probably split 50/50. Some would like to see him replaced as it’s the January window and it could create some momentum similar to what happened at Sheffield Wednesday last season. Others think he should be given the rest of the season and then see where to go from there.

If team selection was down to you what changes would you make and how would you strengthen your team further?

The main thing I would improve is our options out wide, as we are lacking is wingers with pace. This was identified by Wilson and the fans last season and it was stated the situation was addressed. However, nothing has been done and we find ourselves with strikers often playing out side.

I would personally like to see more of our younger players given a chance. It’s something Wilson doesn’t seem keen on and has annoyed our fans after the chairman stated players who reached the FA Youth Cup final would be brought through to the first team. We have a 17 year old called Diego De Girolamo who has recently scored twice for Italy U18s, but isn’t yet deemed good enough for our first team. A lot of fans are interested to see what he could offer the first team, as his creativity is something we’re lacking.

Did you enjoy the local derby the previous season and how did you feel losing out in the playoff spot to them?

The Sheffield derby games are hard to enjoy due to the nerves involved. Last season was even worse due to the fact that both teams were in the unique position of both challenging at the top of the league. Losing promotion to them when we had a large points gap at one stage is hard to take. I can’t think of anything worse.

We would like to Thank Martin for the time of answering questions and sharing his views.

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