Sheffield United: Billy Sharp set to play a crucial role against QPR, despite being in a "bad place"

Billy Sharp, the Sheffield United captain, will be helping his team mates prepare for tomorrow’s crucial encounter against Queens Park Rangers despite being ruled-out of the game by injury.

Monday, 4th April 2022, 10:27 pm
Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp (centre): Ashley Crowden / Sportimage
Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp (centre): Ashley Crowden / Sportimage

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After confirming the 36-year-old is set to miss the contest as he battles to recover from a hamstring complaint, manager Paul Heckingbottom revealed coaching staff have invited Sharp to perform a leading role in the dressing room beforehand.

Losing their leading goalscorer at such a critical stage of the campaign threatens to undermine United’s bid to qualify for the Championship play-offs and bounce back from last weekend’s defeat by Stoke City.

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That result left them eight in the table, one place and two points above their latest opponents, with seven matches remaining.

“I spoke with Billy about that on the phone today and over the weekend,” Heckingbottom told The Star after revealing Oli McBurnie, who also missed the trip to Staffordshire, could return to face Rangers. “Talking to him and Oli Mac, it actually brought back a few feelings about the times I was injured and I got a bit emotional. When you’re injured, you’re always prodding it and seeing if it’s better - it really does run your life - and they’re like that now.

“Billy is in a bad position himself. But he’s club captain and that means, even when he’s not out there, he’s got a huge role. And he’s selfless too, so he wants the best for the rest of the lads.”

“He’ll still be around when he’s out,” Heckingbottom added. “He’ll still be leading from the sidelines.”

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom: Cameron Smith/Getty Images

Sharp had hoped to feature at City, but was forced to withdraw from the contest after “feeling” the muscle during a sprinting session. He could return when AFC Bournemouth travel to South Yorkshire this weekend, in what promises to be another vitally important fixture.

With United only a point behind sixth-placed Blackburn Rovers, Heckingbottom said: “I’ve spent a lot of time talking to people about leadership and one of the things leaders do is challenge themselves and other people around them.

“Winning teams behave in a certain way. They take the lead. Losing teams behave in another way, when if something goes wrong it’s always someone else’s fault. The leadership qualities are the behaviours we want to see.”