So we’re back with the Premier League on June 17 and the Championship on June 20 and given the chance - and the legs - I’d be lacing my boots to help two of my former clubs push for what they want from this crazy season.
I talked about my time with Leeds last week and hopefully Bielsa and the boys can seal a place in the Premier League, but I’m also interested how far Chrissy Wilder can take his Sheffield United side for the rest of the season.
Chrissy has done an amazing job. Liverpool aside, they’ve been the team of the season for me and they’re really pushing for Europe now. With ten games left, Sheffield Utd are seventh, just behind Wolves but in front of Spurs and Arsenal. Who’d have thought?
We’ll get an early chance to see how they’ve done in lockdown because they’re facing Aston Villa away on the first day of the restart - and I’m looking forward to seeing Oli McBurnie stepping up to the plate big-time.
The word coming out of Bramall Lane is that he’s fit and ready to do the business. If the Scot hits the ground running and, more importantly, hits the back of the net then Sheffield United will really make a play for a top six finish. That’d be something.
Overall, I enjoyed my time at Sheffield United.
I was taken there by Dave Bassett who hoped to get a bit of ‘Crazy Gang’ action going on in South Yorkshire - and there was certainly some of that when I went out with ‘Big Bad Billy’ Whitehurst. But that’s another story.
I joined them in the 1990-91 season - even though my dad thought I was mad!
They were at the bottom of the old first division then, but it was a good deal. ‘Harry’ Bassett wanted me to be a part of his ‘Great Escape’, but things didn’t go to plan at the start. We were getting beaten regularly and we needed a lift.
I had a chat with Harry - and we stirred the troops up. We won seven matches on the spin, survived and ended up in twelfth. Job done - and then Chelsea called.
The Blues are also bang there - in fourth.They’re sandwiched between Leicester and Wolves and they will fight out the top four - unless Sheffield United, Spurs or Arsenal get on a roll. And you know, everything and anything is possible.
Teams will be full strength and it’s about who’s the best prepared. It’s almost a new, short season - and managers will want to get out of the blocks quickly. Who will handle empty stadiums best? Basically, who’s up for it most?
It’s about when, not if, Liverpool win the league. It’s been a 30-year wait and I’m sure they’d have wanted the circumstances to be different. But it’s been the same for everyone and you just have to get on with it. And I’ve no doubt Klopp and his team will.
What happens at the bottom of the table is anyone’s guess - who do you reckon goes down? Norwich? Villa? Bournemouth? Watford? West Ham?
Hopefully Watford can keep their heads above water - I’m a Watford boy, remember.
Their PPG (points-per-game) isn't great but Nigel Pearson is a strong man. He’s getting the players together and, while we all understand Troy Deeney’s take on things, getting him back on board and training is fantastic. They can do it - they can survive the drop.
Norwich’s chances look a lot slimmer. On their day they can beat anyone - they showed that against Man City back in September, then Leicester in February. They seem to do better against the better teams, but you’ve got to beat those around you.
Norwich lack consistency, but there’s almost a clean slate coming back - almost.
It seems more of a level playing field now and some of those results in the Bundesliga show that. Not as many home wins as you’d expect. Is that because there’s no crowds? It’s got to be a factor and makes it all to play for come June 17.
Well done to my horse and greyhound racing friends. They were first out of the traps for live sporting action in the UK - and make sure you catch all the horse racing tips here at Easyodds. The boys will keep you well informed.
Catch the latest odds on a big weekend of horse racing coming up with the Guineas weekend at Newmarket. They’ve got the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas back-to-back - and have moved the Coronation Cup from Epsom there too.
My best bets are Roger Varian’s Defoe in the Coronation Cup on Friday, the exciting Pinatubo in the 2000 Guineas on Saturday for Charlie Appleby and Aidan O’Brien’s Love in the 1000 Guineas. Two doubles and a treble. Boom!
Good luck everyone and, remember, keep your social distancing going. Keep a face mask handy - I’ve got mine - but make sure you get out and about. Keeping busy and fit is best for all - but make sure you’re safe at all times.
Have a great week,