Sheffield United 4, Wigan 2 Match Report: Billy Sharp the hero as skipper's hat-trick sends Blades top of Championship table
Recalled skipper Billy Sharp scored a hat-trick as Sheffield United beat Wigan Athletic to go clear at the top of the Championship table.
Sharp, back in the side at the expense of the injured Mark Duffy in one of two changes to the Blades side, struck a top treble as United ran out deserved 4-2 winners against Paul Cook's Wigan.
John Egan was the other Blade to miss out with injury, replaced by Richard Stearman, and he was in the game for the first five minutes or so as Wigan began brightly, until one of their own players gifted United the lead.
Chris Basham read Kieron Freeman's clever quick throw-in and crossed into the box, where Chey Dunkley sidefooted the ball into his own net to put United ahead.
The equaliser came though when substitute Kai Naismith, who caught the eye for Wigan, finished calmly despite a touch from Dean Henderson, but United were back in front at half-time when Stearman headed Oli Norwood's deep free-kick across goal, and Sharp made no mistake.
The third came in the second half when Norwood and Leon Clarke combined to put the ball on a plate for Sharp to finish a wonderful team move, and the striker completed his hat-trick when he raced onto Norwood's outrageous outside-of-the-foot pass and lobbed Wigan 'keeper Christian Walton from close range.
Wigan substitute Joe Garner pulled one back when he netted from Josh Windass' right wing cross, but United's victory was never in doubt as they moved two points clear of Middlesbrough, who drew with Derby in the day's early kick-off.