Sheffield United have the opportunity to climb to the top of the Championship table on Friday if they can continue their impressive away form at Aston Villa.

The Blades have emerged as surprise contenders to win automatic promotion to the Premier League this season.

Chris Wilder guided United to a respectable 10th-place finish in the Championship last season on their return to the second tier.

And the former Blades defender has continued to work his magic this term as they dream of returning to the Premier League for the first time since 2007.

It appears to be a three-horse race for the top-two positions in the division, with Norwich and Leeds, who sit first and second respectively, both tied on 57 points.

The Steel City outfit are three points adrift but boast a superior goal difference and their away form suggests they will top the pile at full-time on Friday.

Just one defeat in their last seven Championship engagements away from Bramall Lane has boosted promotion hopes while they drew at Norwich in their most recent away clash.

Indeed, they have shown consistency home and away since the festive period, losing just one of their last eight games, winning five, and they are available at a best price of 87/50 to win outright on Friday.

They will take further confidence from Villa’s recent struggles, in particular at home, which have left them in danger of missing out on a play-off spot.

Villa head into the match sitting ninth, with just one win in their last six outings on home soil, but they have drawn on four occasions.

One certainty for this game is goals as Dean Smith’s side have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last seven Championship outings at Villa Park.

Both teams have found the back of the net in each of those seven games and the Blades, who have scored in six of their last seven on the road, will fancy their chances of notching.

With that in mind, both teams to score can be backed at a best price of 8/13.

The clash also sees the league’s top scorers go head-to-head, with Villa’s Tammy Abraham and Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp set to square off.

They cannot be separated in the scoring charts, with 19 goals apiece, and are likely to be in the mix as the battle it out for the Golden Boot this term.

Abraham can be backed at a best price of 4/1 in the first goalscorer market while Sharp may be the more attractive option at 5/1 to bag the first on the night.