Gary Madine has inadvertently fanned the flames ahead of Saturday’s match between Sheffield United and Bolton Wanderers at Bramall Lane after a video of him insulting Billy Sharp, the League One leaders’ captain, was posted on social media.
Madine, the Wanderers centre-forward, can be heard abusing Sharp during the short clip, apparently filmed in a bar by a Sheffield Wednesday supporter.
Although it is not clear when the footage was recorded, the timing of its publication is likely to dismay Wanderers manager Phil Parkinson as he prepares his squad for this weekend’s visit to South Yorkshire. Madine, who made over 100 appearances for United’s arch-rivals before being released in 2015, is expected to spearhead the Lancastrians’ attack at Bramall Lane after claiming his eighth goal of the season against Bradford City four days ago.
Sharp scored for the 21st time since August during United’s 1-1 draw with Scunthorpe; a result which maintained their seven point advantage over Parkinson’s third-placed side.
Madine’s comments are likely to provide Chris Wilder’s players with even greater incentive to avenge August’s 1-0 defeat at the Macron Stadium as they gear-up for another key battle in the race for Championship football next term.
Sharp, the division’s leading goalscorer, will enter the fixture searching for his 10th goal in only 13 outings and, speaking after the clash with Graham Alexander’s team, Wilder said: “Billy just goes out there and does his job. Exactly what it says on the tin and with no fuss whatsoever.”
Wanderers will be without Jay Spearing for their clash with United due to suspension while Wilder must decide whether or not to recall defender Ethan Ebanks-Landell.