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Football League Preview: Sheffield United warm up for Wembley, Brentford host Crawley

SoccerNews in English Premier League 6 Apr 2014

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Sheffield United will be hoping to avoid any Wembley distractions when they meet local rivals Rotherham United in League One on Tuesday.

Nigel Clough’s side face one of the biggest games in their recent history next Sunday when they head to the English national stadium for their FA Cup semi-final meeting with Hull City.

Up for grabs is a first FA Cup final appearance for the club since 1936, but first they must contend with a derby clash against their near-neighbours in league action.

Sheffield United are all but out of the play-off picture, eight points adrift of sixth-placed Peterborough United having played the same number of games.

Rotherham’s hopes of promotion are far more realistic, though, following a magnificent 16-game unbeaten run that has put them on the brink of sealing a spot in the Championship.

A 3-1 loss to Coventry City on New Year’s Day marked the last time that Steve Evans’ men suffered defeat in the league, and they are now just six points adrift of Brentford, who occupy the second automatic promotion place.

They will aim to keep the pressure on Brentford, who themselves are in action on Tuesday with a home clash against Crawley Town.

The hosts ended a three-match winless streak by beating relegation-threatened Notts County 3-1 on Saturday, and will look to do the same against a Crawley side in dismal form.

John Gregory’s team have lost all of their last five encounters, leaving them just three points above the bottom four.

But the former Aston Villa and Derby County boss insists that his side’s survival hopes remain in their hands.

“It’s the first time I’ve had to look over our shoulders since I’ve been here,” Gregory said after Saturday’s 2-1 home loss to Crewe Alexandra.

“Some of the results in the bottom half were not good for us today.

“But it’s in our own hands and other clubs around us don’t have the luxury of the games in hand.”

Meanwhile, Peterborough face Gillingham eyeing a return to form to secure the final play-off spot.

Sixth-placed Peterborough lead MK Dons by only three points after just three wins in their last nine league games, but victory in their game in hand against a Gillingham side still not yet sure of survival will provide a huge boost.

In League Two, Plymouth Argyle can move to within two points of the final play-off spot by beating a Newport County side mired in the bottom half of the table.

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