Preston to go Lowe by getting higher versus Blades

Preston North End welcome Sheffield United to Deepdale in what is only the sixth game the Lilywhites will have played since the start of December in all competitions. In that span, they have appointed Plymouth Argyle's Ryan Lowe as their new manager in an effort to bring some excitement and passion back to central Lancashire. He has picked up seven points from three EFL Championship games to date, and will be talking up his new side's chances against the Blades. Read our preview here:

Running on Bauer power

Fresh from scoring the opener in the 1-1 draw with Birmingham City on Saturday, centre back Patrick Bauer has signed a new contract to keep him in situ until at least 2024. The experienced German stopper has been a crucial pillar in the hosts' defence since joining three years ago, but missed much of the last season through injury. More of a tackler than a ball player, he is nevertheless going to be a crucial component of Lowe's XI in the time to come. His new boss also welcomed back versatile forward Tom Barkhuizen after his own long lay-off, but he will be gradually given minutes rather than risked from the outset. Matthew Olosunde, Josh Murphy, and Isaiah Brown continue to be on the sidelines.

Billy idol

Though apparently not judged on results by the Bramall Lane board, Paul Heckingbottom has reversed the rapidly declining fortunes of the red and white half of the city; at one point, it looked as though they were heading for successive relegations, but are now locked on 32 points with their midweek opponents with both having the 'luxury' of games in hand on the vast majority of the sides in the division. At 35, the legendary figure of Billy Sharp remains first choice striker at the club, and he would normally be complemented in the lineup by Morgan Gibbs-White bursts from attacking midfield, were the latter not out. The veteran has six goals thus far, and requires more support from his teammates to ensure they don't slip backwards.

Rusty Blades

Their 2-0 reverse to Derby County ended a winning streak of four games for Sheffield United, though it must be stated that it was their first league game in nearly a month. On paper too, both likely XIs look hard to separate, though Lowe might have more momentum and positivity in his squad. bet365 have odds of 2.80 for those elements to be the difference makers for Preston North End, and another win to help their rise up mid-table.

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