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Championship Preview: Sheffield United

After six years, the Blades finally return to the Championship

Sheffield United v Chesterfield - Sky Bet League One Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

After six consecutive seasons in League One, Sheffield United are back in the Championship.

The Blades earned their promotion by setting League One on fire, finishing as champions of the league with 30 wins, 10 draws, and 6 losses. They started out poorly, only getting one point out of their first four matches. That’s bad, but by the powers of math, you’d have figured out that they went on to only lose three games the entire season, including a run of 17 games to close out the season where they always got at least one point. Sheffield finished with a +45 goal differential, so they know a thing or two about scoring goals. Bolton, who finished second, finished with a points total of 86. Sheffield finished with 100. Yea, they dominated last season.

The Blades were spearheaded by former Leeds striker Billy Sharp, who scored 30 times for Sheffield. Right back Kieron Freeman also had a decent scoring campaign, bagging in 10 during league play and one during the FA Cup.

Sheffield United v Chesterfield - Sky Bet League One
Billy Sharp scored 30 times as Sheffield won League One
Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

The last time Sheffield United were in the Championship was during the 2010/11 season. That same season marked the first time Leeds were in the Championship in four years. When the Blades and the Whites squared off, each team won their home game. Bradley Johnson scored an 83rd-minute winner to lead Leeds to a 1-0 win at Elland Road, and Sheffield took the spoils at Bramall Lane thanks to a 55th-minute Eric Lichaj own goal and a Bjørn Helge Riise goal in the 74th minute to seal it.

Sheffield United V Bradford City- Sky Bet League One
Holding on to Chris Wilder will be a very important task for Sheffield
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

How will Sheffield do this upcoming season? In their own way, the Blades are like Leeds. If Chris Wood/Billy Sharp are playing well, then Leeds/Sheffield are playing well. I think that Sheffield is the best team out of the three teams to get promoted, but they will still need help to be competitive in the Championship. Bringing in some fresh, Championship level talent will only make the Blades better. Holding onto manager Chris Wilder will also be important, as Sunderland are targeting the Sheffield boss after being snubbed by Derek McInnes (HITC Sport). If nothing else, fans of the Championship can always look forward to the Steel City Derby finally returning for two games a year.