By: Ben Emmott
Sheffield United host Nottingham Forest at the weekend in a fixture that many may not know is a fierce derby.
The rivalry stems back to the 1980’s when there was a disagreement between the miners of Sheffield and Nottingham after Sheffield’s miners decided to perform strikes whilst the Nottingham miners decided to stay and work. This rivalry makes for an electric atmosphere which has sprung up some brilliant fixtures between the sides in the past.
Both sets of fans will remember their playoff semi-final back in 2003, although Forest fans may want to forget it. After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, the second leg was a play-off classic, with Sheffield coming out on top, winning 4-2 at Bramall Lane.
Sports Writer at the Telegraph and the Sheffield Star, Danny Hall, had his say on the most memorable meeting between the sides:
“Any game between Forest and United always conjures up memories of the best game I have ever seen, the 2003 play-off semi-final second leg at Bramall Lane. Although I don’t think it’s too good a memory for Darren Ward, United’s goalkeeping coach who was in goal for Forest that evening. Forest are a big club in this division, a proper club, and it won’t be an easy game this weekend but I’ll tip United to just edge a tight game, as they continue their pursuit of the play-offs.”
Buzzing for Sheffield United away on Saturday. Cracking effort to sell out nearly 3,000 tickets with nothing to play for. #NFFC 🔴⚪🔴
— Lee Clarke (@Clarkey_No1) March 15, 2018
Ahead of this weekend’s fixture, the Blades sit in 7th place, only two points behind Middlesbrough who currently have hold of the final play-off place. For Forest, there’s not much to fight for now as they are comfortably distanced from the relegation zone and a play-off push is too much of a ask with only nine games remaining.
United manager, Chris Wilder has revealed that Blades top scorer, Leon Clarke has a chance of playing this weekend after being absent for the last three games:
“Leon is close. We’ll sit down and have a chat. Leon knows his body better than anybody so of course he’ll be involved in that.”
Nottingham Forest boss Aitor Karanka believes their championship oppositions are starting to worry about facing the reds.
“Now, when we go out on the pitch, we feel like a team. More than that, the teams we play against, when we face them, they change their shape and approach. They approach games now in a different way because they respect us more now.”
The match will take place at Bramall Lane at 3pm with Sheffield hoping to jump into the play-off spaces if results go their way.