The unsung Sheffield United hero who has taken Blades to brink of play-offs - Alan Biggs

Promotion is in Sheffield United’s hands, in spite of everything, and there is a literal pair of hands deserving of huge credit for that.

By Alan Biggs
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 11:45 am

Certainly safer hands than those of anyone who dares to predict the next act of what could become a takeover saga - despite this column correctly tipping that possibility last week.

Goalkeepers, particularly ones kept less than really busy by effective teams, don’t make obvious Player of the Season contenders.

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Sheffield United's John Egan congratulates Wes Foderingham following his penalty save from Breenan Johnson of Nottingham Forest. Picture: Darren Staples / Sportimage

But at Sheffield United, where that applies, you’d have to make Wes Foderingham a genuine claimant.

Has he made a single serious error in his campaign of wonderful assurance and consistency? Not one I can remember.

So I thought I’d run the 31-year-old former Swindon and Rangers keeper under the all-seeing eye of Google.

“Mistakes by Wes Foderingham,” was the search command.

The first and most recent result came from way back in February, 2018! … when he blundered for a goal by Ayr United in the Scottish Cup. Rangers won 6-1, by the way.

Next came infamous references even further back, to six years earlier in 2012 when Foderingham had a spectacular bust-up with his Swindon boss Paolo Di Canio, who publicly labelled him “League One Wes” and a “Subbuteo keeper.”

Tell you what, if the Blades win promotion I’d back Foderingham to be a genuine “Premier League Wes.” Couldn’t see Paul Heckingbottom looking to replace a man who’s had 17 clean sheets in 30 appearances this season (claimed to be the highest clean sheet percentage in Championship history at 56.7%).

His big-club stint at Ibrox, where he played 112 league games, more than qualifies him and speaks of a temperament to match, displayed by his calm authority for United and the aura of command that surrounds him.

For all that he’s been well protected generally, Foderingham has made big saves at big times, as in several recent home games.

Consider too that the timing of his Bramall Lane breakthrough, after more than a year and a solitary appearance in the EFL Cup, put an extra focus on him.

He was following in the wake of very high profile keepers in Dean Henderson and Aaron Ramsdale. That said, it might have helped that his immediate predecessor, Robin Olsen, quickly came and went in a blaze of mediocrity.

Two games left. Can United snatch that top six spot to reward Foderingham’s work as much as anyone else’s? As stated here many times before, I believe they will.