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Preview: Sheffield United v Blues

The fact they conceded five was probably because they tried to score five goals themselves to get back in the game.

Steve Cotterill

A full match preview ahead of Saturday evening's Sky Bet Championship fixture between Sheffield United and Blues at Bramall Lane (5.30pm kick-off).

Steve Cotterill asked if he'd seen any signs of progress from his players in recent games...
"Yes, I think with our organisational things. I would say we're far better and understanding of situations than we were. But that's probably because we've worked on them on the training ground. At the moment it is individual errors that are costing us. It's not anything glaringly obvious with the team where we've done something. We'll make a mistake and we're getting burnt for every mistake at the moment and that's probably what we need to cut out are the individual errors. None of the lads want to make those errors but we have got a few of them at the moment and that does drain confidence and belief."

Steve Cotterill on fine margins and the need to score more goals...
"The margins are fine lines at the moment. We know that we haven't been free-scoring. We've worked very hard to try and get the lads to be more confident and take their chances. We can't do any more than we've been doing with that at the moment. It wouldn't surprise me all of a sudden if we did go and score a few goals in a game. It's about them taking their opportunity when it comes their way in a game. With a bit of luck, it could go in off someone's backside, that sometimes turns that circle for you. Because we're not that far away from it. We are not all of a sudden going to turn it round and end up being the team that will win the five out of seven games. There are teams this year that are on worse runs than we are.

Steve Cotterill on missing former striker Clayton Donaldson, who now plays for Sheffield United...
"Clayton Donaldson has been a big miss here. Even before I became Manager here, for the last three or four years he's been the one that has managed to get the 15 goals. And I was privileged to work with Clayton last year and he's an absolute diamond of a lad. There would have been lots of things that Clayton would have taught Isaac and the other young strikers as well. They could have copied him on how to play up front by yourself because Clayton could do all of it. He ran in behind, he held the ball up and scored goals."

Steve Cotterill asked if Sheffield United conceding five goals in their defeat to Fulham in mid-week might have dented their confidence...
"The fact they conceded five was probably because they tried to score five goals themselves to get back in the game. When you are an open and attacking team you can concede goals. I don' think that will affect their confidence because of where they are in the league. My main focus is my team and my club."

Steve Cotterill asked if he thought Sheffield United could achieve automatic promotion...
"I would have thought so, yes. They're on a fantastic run and they've had a fantastic start to the season. Time will only tell if results don't go their way on a consistent basis. If you have a few defeats and are at a big club that's when the pressure grows. Good luck to them apart from Saturday. But my thoughts are solely with Birmingham City."

Sheffield United Manager Chris Wilder's comments ahead of the game...
"We're chasing on Saturday, kicking off later and everyone will be watching us. But we'll prepare and make sure we're right. The next game can't come quick enough for us, it will be a lively game under the lights and I would expect another push from our supporters to try and get a positive result. They (Birmingham) produced a gritty and determined performance to beat a talented Nottingham Forest side. Steve will have gone in there to turn it round and they've spent a hell of a lot of money. When they click they will get some results, hopefully they don't click on Saturday teatime."

Sheffield United team news...
Midfielder Paul Coutts is out with a broken leg. Former Blues midfielder Mark Duffy picked up a knock against Fulahm earlier in the week but should be fit. George Baldock is set to return from injury.

Blues team news...
Che Adams is a doubt after tweaking his hamstring in Wednesday night's defeat at Middlesbrough. Midfielder David Davis will also have a late fitness test after taking a knock to his knee against Boro. Tomasz Kuszczak has been playing with an injury for the past month, for which he has been receiving painkilling injections. However, David Stockdale is available again after recovering from a broken bone in his arm and was on the substitutes' bench at the Riverside. Stephen Gleeson (thigh) and Craig Gardner (calf) are doubts. Carl Jenkinson (shoulder), Isaac Vassell (knee), Maxime Colin (hamstring) are all sidelined.

Tickets
Blues have sold our full allocation of 2,251 tickets for this game. Please do not travel to Bramall Lane unless you have a ticket.

Alcohol sales at Bramall Lane
Sheffield United have confirmed that there will be no sales of alcohol to Blues fans inside Bramall Lane on Saturday.

Listen live
BluesTV will have live commentary from Bramall Lane on Saturday evening. If you would like to subscribe to BluesTV, please click here. Because this game is being shown on Sky Sports, BluesTV are not authorised to broadcast it.

Match Officials
Jeremy Simpson will take charge of Saturday's game at Bramall Lane. This season the Lancashire-based official has refereed 18 games, where he has produced a total of 73 yellow cards and two reds. The last Blues fixture he took charge of was our Championship home game against Reading in January. That match ended in a 1-0 defeat for Blues and three players were cautioned; including Stephen Gleeson for Blues. Mr Simpson will be assisted by Shaun Hudson and Nick Hopton.

Supporter behaviour
The Club urges all supporters to refrain from anti-social behaviour and conduct themselves in the correct manner at all our games, inside and outside the ground. The overwhelming majority of our support is well behaved, law-abiding and the passionate backing the team receives is greatly appreciated. However, as a Club we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding anti-social behaviour and spectator misconduct. This includes - amongst other things - drunkenness, throwing of coins and use and carrying of pyrotechnics (flares, smoke bombs), racist and/or homophobic chanting. In particular, the throwing of coins and other missiles is extremely dangerous and is not tolerated whatsoever. This is a very serious offence and any supporter identified to have committed this and other such acts will be banned by the Club and subject to the possibility of criminal prosecution. Birmingham City Football Club will continue to work closely with the police, football authorities and ground authorities to stamp out all types spectator misconduct. We would also like to remind supporters that if there are incidents of this nature in the future the Football Association have the power to impose a serious financial penalty on the Club and order matches to be played behind closed doors. The Club urges all supporters to assist us and help eradicate unlawful practices.
Thank you.

Important message to Blues supporters
The Club recently launched a campaign to remind supporters about the effects of anti-social behaviour. Click here for more details.

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