Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has revealed that Billy Sharp is doing ‘all he can’ to get fit for the Blades’ potential play-off fixtures.
With just one match remaining for the Yorkshire side in the 2021-22 Championship season, United find themselves in sixth position, two points ahead of their nearest challengers Middlesbrough and three ahead of Millwall.
Should the Blades drop points on the final day of the season against Fulham though, then it could potentially let Boro in – even if United draw at Bramall Lane against the Cottagers their former boss Chris Wilder could get the Teessiders into the top six if they thump Preston North End by three or more goals.
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In recent weeks and months, Heckingbottom has been hamstrung by key players getting injured – none more-so than his captain and talisman Sharp.
The veteran striker limped off with a hamstring injury against Barnsley in March and then missed the next five United matches – he briefly returned against Cardiff City over a week ago but then suffered another setback as he picked up a calf problem.
Sharp will not be back for Saturday’s crucial clash with Marco Silva’s side, but Heckingbottom has insisted that the forward is doing everything possible to be fit for the play-offs if they get there.
“It’s weeks, not days,” Heckingbottom said of Sharp’s injury, per the Sheffield Star.
“But he’s committed to doing all he can to try and get back if we can extend our season.
“That’s what we want. He could sit and do nothing and let the season fritter by.
“But if there’s a chance of us getting him back involved, we’re going to take every chance.
“But he has to be willing and of course he is. If he thinks there’s a chance of playing in the play-offs for Sheffield United, for his hometown club, he’s going to do all he can to get there.”
Even at the age of 36, Sharp is still banging in the goals at Championship level.
And the Blades could really do with him getting back fit as soon as possible as they lack a significant goal threat at the top end of the pitch with him on the sidelines.
Sharp managed to stay fit all season, but the amount of minutes he’s played perhaps finally caught up to him at the worst possible time.
Playing against a Fulham side who may have already wrapped up the title by the time Saturday comes around might be a good thing for United, but they’d fancy their chances a lot more of a victory if Sharp was fit, so now they must hope they can get to the play-offs and he can play a part.