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Blades must beware Walsall whizz Tom Bradshaw in JPT battle

Walsall have won two of their last three home meetings with Sheffield United, so Coral make them 6/4 chances for victory in their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy quarter-final in 90 minutes. Recent battles involving the West Midlands outfit and Blades suggests it should be a tale of two strikers.

Sheffield United should mark former Wales Under-21 striker Tom Bradshaw closely. This Saddlers summer signing has scored four in his last three outings across all competitions.

That is a real purple patch for Birmingham-based club Walsall’s main man, and explains his 5/4 price for another goal in the anytime market here. Punters should take more attractive odds of 5/1 for Bradshaw to net last, though, as he has done this in each of those last three appearances.

Nigel Clough, 7/4 to steer the Steel City side to an away win in normal time, meanwhile, has used domestic cup competitions scoring specialist Chris Porter sparingly this season. The 30-year-old, signed by the Blades boss when he was Derby County manager in 2009, has less than 180 minutes of football under his belt.

Poacher Porter has netted in each of his three previous appearances against Walsall, however, scoring first in the last two. He is, therefore, the horse for this particular course. Back Porter, then, to be on target anytime at 11/4, or as a sumptuous 7/1 shot to grab the opener.

Dean Smith’s Saddlers have some strong home form, with only top-flight team Crystal Palace (in the Capital One Cup) and League One’s current basement clubs Crewe Alexandra and Yeovil Town winning at the Bescot this term. That dovetails, however, with the Blades being beaten just three times on the road all campaign.

Something will have to give in this Football League Trophy tie, which must be decided on the night. Backing a draw in 90 minutes is a tempting 23/10 chance but, given Walsall’s recent record against United, a home win with both teams scoring is an even more attractive prospect at 24/5.