Sheffield United Preview vs Wigan Athletic

Chris Wilder has welcomed the striker headache at Sheffield United. The Blades rested leading scorer Billy Sharp for Tuesday night’s draw with Stoke City, replacement Leon Clarke netting in a 1-1 draw. It was the striker’s first goal in 14 appearances this season, in stark contrast to last year when he netted 19 times.

Now Blades manager Wilder must decide between eight-goal Sharp, Clarke or David McGoldrick – who has five goals to his name – for the striking roles when Wigan Athletic visit Bramall Lane on Saturday. Asked about selection problems, Wilder replied: “I am delighted. I will take dilemmas all day long, more the merrier… hopefully, that’s given Leon a big boost. His all-round play has been outstanding, I thought it was the right call. He’s another one who has been ready, training very well, and he took his chance. It was great he got his goal. We all know centre-forwards want to score and go on little runs, this might be the start of a run for Leon.”

The Blades manager revealed a couple of players are struggling with injuries ahead of the Wigan game. “We have got a couple which we have to assess over the next couple of days, we will give them as long as possible, but as you can imagine, I am not going to give you any names. I have said all along, whoever comes in has to play well and take their place.”

Sheffield United have said Wigan’s on-loan star Lee Evans will be ineligible to face the Blades at Bramall Lane on Saturday. Evans, who signed an initial short-term loan deal at the DW Stadium before the move becomes permanent in January, looks set not be included in Paul Cook’s 18-man squad for the trip to South Yorkshire. 

Sheffield United allowed Ryan Leonard to play against them for Millwall last month – which sparked brief hopes Welsh international Evans could possibly be available for selection at the weekend. But Evans looks likely to be watching on from the stands when he makes his first return to Bramall Lane since his summer switch. Unlike Millwall – who completed a deal for Leonard in the same loan-to-buy format on deadline day – the terms of Wigan Athletic’s transfer agreement with Sheffield United do not permit Evans to feature against his parent club.

Leonard almost haunted his parent club when he provided the assist for Lee Gregory at The Den to put the Blades 2-1 behind.But David McGoldrick notched a brace in the final 11 minutes to give Chris Wilder’s troops an 3-2 victory in the capital.Paul Cook has a selection headache as Darron Gibson is still serving his three-match ban from his dismissal at Preston North End earlier this month.

Callum Connolly, who has often been called upon from the substitutes bench by Cook this season, could be a replacement to fill the void in Evans’ absence. Latics will be looking to break their away hoodoo after Tuesday’s defeat at Millwall meant that Paul Cook’s side have now lost five consecutive matches on the road. 

Match Prediction

Sheffield United 2 – 1 Wigan Athletic

I think this is going to be too great of task for the Latics and I anticipate their poor vein of form on the road is going to continue. Chris Wilder will be desperate to return to winning ways after a disappointing second half display against rampant Derby and being robbed of a win against Stoke City. The whole squad will be fighting tooth and nail to regain a grip on the top 2, which I believe they will do. 2 – 1.

Picture Credit: Sheffield United

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