Gills return to Priestfield this Saturday for the visit of Sheffield United in the Emirates FA Cup third round.
Stephen Clemence’s men come into the tie on the back of two successive 1-0 league wins, ending the fesitve period on a high.
Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United currently sit bottom of the Premier League, without a win in their last four outings. Regardless, they will provide a huge test for the Gills as both teams eye a spot in round four.
Gillingham v Sheffield United
Emirates FA Cup Third Round
Saturday January 6
Jonny Williams will likely be the only absentee for the hosts this weekend, as the midfielder continues to recover from a hamstring injury sustained during the Gills Boxing Day match at home to Crawley Town.
Tim Dieng has returned to training this week and could be involved.
Stephen Clemence will otherwise have a near fully fit squad at his disposal, as the Head Coach looks to navigate the Gills past the Blades and into the next round.
As for Sheffield United they will be without Anis Ben Slimane who has received an international call-up and will represent Tunisia in the African Cup of Nations. Yasser Larouci has also been called up for the tournament by Algeria.
Chris Basham and former Gills centre-back, John Egan, are out of action with ankle injuries. Tom Davies (thigh), Daniel Jebbison (illness), Max Lowe (muscle strain) and Sydie Peck (knee) are also likely to be missing.
Stephen Clemence: “I’ve come up against Chris on a number of occasions in recent years. Obviously, he’s a fantastic manager who has taken a team to the Premier League. I’ve a lot of respect for him, but I’m looking forward to competing against him this weekend.
“We have analysed Sheffield United, we’ll go into it with a game plan. It’s going to be a very, very difficult game, they’ve got top players.
“That’s the challenge for our boys. Go out there and test yourselves against them. Look forward to playing against elite players and show us what you can do against them.”
Chris Wilder: “We’re full tilt, we’re all in for the FA Cup, without a shadow of a doubt.
“We’ve not won many games this season. We are a Premier League team, we have to go there with full respect to Gillingham and Stephen, but I’m expecting us to win. Our fans are expecting us to win.
“We have to have that mentality that wherever we go, we’re going to give a performance that is good enough to get a result, in all competitions.”
We last met Sheffield United during the 2016/17 Sky Bet League One campaign. The Gills travelled to Bramall Lane in January of that season, securing a 2-2 draw on the road.
The Blades opened the scoring after a nice passage of build-up play from the hosts gave Billy Sharp the space to get a shot on goal, putting the hosts ahead in the 32nd minute.
The Gills responded well in the second half, as two quickfire goals from Joshua Wright in the 51st and 58th minute, looked to be sending the three points back to Priestfield.
Kieron Freeman grabbed a leveller for Sheffield soon after the restart, however, as both sides looked to push on and find a winner that ultimately wouldn’t come. A draw at Bramall Lane and a point each on the day.
Gillingham – 10
Draw – 8
Sheffield United – 10
The history records show the statistics to be split right down the middle, beginning when the two clubs first met in the 1979/80 old Division 3 campaign.
This will be the first time the Gills have met the Blades in cup competition.
Limited tickets remain available for the match online via the official website.
Gillingham – 5/1
Draw – 3/1
Sheffield United – 11/20
Special Bet: Oli Hawkins to score anytime – 5/1.
Referee – Darren Bond
Assistants – Darren Cann & Matthew Wilkes
Fourth Official – James Linington
Sat Nav: ME7 2PE