In attempt to cement their place as League 1 leaders, Sheffield United were only able to salvage a point against promotion contenders Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium Tuesday night.
After making five changes, including benching club captain and top-goal scorer Billy Sharp. Blades boss Chris Wilder boasted his quality in depth and bold selection policy, as they remain five points clear of the table.
Suffering a groin injury, winter acquisition James Hanson was also among those rested, allowing Matt Done to return to the side, along with full debutants Joe Riley and Jay O’shea.
During the match, both teams missed many opportunities, including a 59th minute effort from Blades midfielders John Fleck whose left footed shot from close range rattled the right post.
Jay O’shea and Caolan Lavery, also squandered chances as they searched to break the deadlock. However, Rovers goalkeeper Joe Lumley proved to be key, coming to the rescue on various occasions.
The Pirates physical superiority was evident throughout, as they flooded men behind the ball whenever United pressed. Making it near impossible to break down what was the joint second worst defence in the division, going into the game.
In a late scramble in the area, United goalkeeper Simon Moore also broke his nose, with Blades assistant manager Alan Knill emphasising: “That Shows grit, and desire of our lads. What they are prepared to do to get where we all want to be”.
Alan Knill further added: “Both teams know they created chances but will probably look back on that as a decent result, both sets of players really went for it and dug-in when required. Looking back, I think it was a fair result”.
With upcoming fixtures against third placed Bolton and second placed Scunthorpe, Wilder must continue taking risks in a bid to secure an automatic promotion place, with both Bolton and Scunthorpe breathing down the Blades neck.