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No time to waste, it’s bus parking only as Sheffield United make the trip to Carrow Road

PUBLISHED: 07:37 20 January 2018

Leon Clarke has been bang in form for Sheffield United this season. Picture: PA

Leon Clarke has been bang in form for Sheffield United this season. Picture: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Nathan Taylor - a Norfolk-based Blades fan who plays cricket for Swardeston CC – turns his attentions to this afternoon’s game at Carrow Road.

QFirstly, has Chris Wilder ensured his coach driver is fully briefed to deal with the pedestrianisation of Norwich city centre?

AHaha, in fairness I’m not even sure if the locals have fully grasped it yet have they? If we score early he may even have been briefed to park it in front of the goal! He has no doubt been briefed to ensure there is a shop en route for a couple of cases of Peroni which for those of you don’t know was the famous ingredient to begin our long unbeaten run last season in League One following a dismal start.

QHas United’s success so far this season been a surprise?

ATo be entirely honest, yes. I was expecting a lower mid-table finish for us and although there’s still a long way to go it doesn’t look like that’s where we will end up. The fact the blue side of the city has struggled and also failed to beat us this season has certainly made it that bit sweeter though.

QResults have tailed off a bit in recent months, why is that?

AThe loss of Paul Coutts. He was instrumental to the way we play and the fact we’ve only won once in 10 league games since his injury would suggest that’s been a significant factor. We seem to have signed well in the January window though and I’m confident we will turn that around soon, hopefully starting Saturday!

QDo you feel the Blades are good enough to finish in the top six?

AI think so, but it’s vital we turn our form around now as the pack has really closed up. The fact we are still in there after our recent run I think shows how open the league is this year and also shows how good our start to the season was. With our recruitment this month, we now have an excellent chance to turn our form around and produce the results we need.

QWhich players have been your best performers so far this season?

ALeon Clarke, John Fleck and Jack O’Connell. Very much the spine of the team – and keep an eye out for O’Connell. I never thought I’d see an overlapping centre-half on a pitch, but that’s what happens and it’s produced some excellent football to watch. Clarke has been a revelation and is arguably having the best of his career to date, which is perfect timing. Fleck gives us that bit of steel we need in the middle and has a good football brain too.

QAnd which have been disappointing?

AIt’d be tough to say anyone has been disappointing for us really given where we are but I’d have liked to have seen more from Samir Carruthers. Unfortunately, he hasn’t kicked on as we’d have hoped and I believe there is interest from Charlton following us signing Ricky Holmes from them so we may have seen the last of him.

QWere you impressed by Norwich during the Bramall Lane game?

AThis won’t be popular I’m sure, but I wasn’t really; great finish by Yanic Wildschutt in fairness. I think if any of our usual strikers had been fit we’d have probably won the game but playing an unfit Ched Evans was the best we could do, so unfortunately it was a defeat. I travelled up with a few Canary mates and they were all delighted with three points from a “poor performance” and I can’t blame them, who wouldn’t be? As for the time-wasting, well, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t do that, especially away from home?

QHave you been surprised to see City in the bottom half of the table?

AVery. I thought you’d have been candidates for a top-six spot for the majority of the season but as I said, there’s still a long way to go and barring Wolves I don’t think there’s a great deal between the majority of the teams at the moment and it’s going to be an interesting race for the play-offs.

QWhich Canaries players will you be most wary of?

AAs long as you haven’t sold him then James Maddison is a definite stand-out – what a player you have on your hands. Nelson Oliveira on his day can be a real handful as well. Defensively Timm Klose, who I’d rate as one of the best defenders in the league, will no doubt have an intriguing battle with Clarke.

QAnd finally, what is your prediction for the game?

AYou’ve been in good form of late and frankly we haven’t so I’m desperately hoping we stop the rot and halt your charge up the league. Away win, 2-1 to the Bladesmen!

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