Room at the top for Yorkshire derby winner

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There will be more than just Yorkshire pride at stake this afternoon when Sheffield United and Barnsley meet in the Nationwide League. With the First Division leaders playing Swindon tomorrow, the prize for the winner at Bramall Lane will be a place at the top of the table.

Sheffield United, second only because of Bolton's superior goalscoring, have lost just twice in their last 15 matches, and their victory at Crystal Palace in midweek restored their feelgood factor, which had been undermined by mounting injuries and suspensions and last Saturday's 4-1 defeat at Oxford.

Sheffield United will be without eight players this time, although Don Hutchison returns after suspension.

Their manager, Howard Kendall, said: "The way both teams are playing sets it up as a great local derby, and it should be a tremendous atmosphere. Hopefully the way we battled at Palace means the fans will forgive us for last Saturday's display at Oxford."

Barnsley's manager, Danny Wilson, will hope his team improves on their away record of only one win in seven matches, especially as they have lost only once in their last 14 games. He is likely to keep the squad who beat Tranmere 3-0 last week.

A late goal by Paul Devlin earned Birmingham an away point from 1-1 draw at Roots Hall after Paul Williams had put Southend ahead.