After a winning start to the week, we’re focusing on the FA Cup tonight, and Kev’s backing Sheffield United to reach the last eight.
Blades to cut down Royals
Reading v Sheffield United
Tuesday 03 March, 20:00
With all the talk of banners and games being suspended, it was nice to attach some positivity to the German game yesterday, as Hannover’s 3-1 win over Holstein Kiel gave us a winner to kick off the week.
We’ll head to England now, because the fifth round of the FA Cup has been shoehorned into a midweek set of fixtures, and Championship meanderers Reading are up against Premier League high-flyers Sheffield United.
Reading boss Mark Bowen has described this game as the biggest of his club’s season, and he’s absolutely right. A disappointing league campaign means that the avoidance of the drop is the only tangible success available, so reaching the quarter-finals of the cup would be a huge boost. However, Reading’s home form is patchy at best. Yes, they won 2-0 against relegation-threatened Barnsley at the weekend, but they have lost three of their last five on home soil, and across the whole Championship season, they have been beaten nine times at the Madejski Stadium.
Sheffield United have reached the magic 40-point barrier in the Premier League with nine games to spare, so charismatic and astute manager Chris Wilder can afford to field a strong team here. It’s worth noting that the Blades have won 13 of their last 14 FA Cup ties against lower-division opposition, and this season they have already won 2-0 at Millwall in a game that many saw as a potential slip-up.
On the road, Sheffield United have won four of their last seven games, including the last two, and I’ll back them to win again here at [1.8].