Caolan Lavery is poised to make his first league start for Sheffield United, manager Chris Wilder has revealed.
The centre-forward has made eight substitute appearances since leaving Sheffield Wednesday earlier this season but, after impressing coaching staff during Tuesday’s victory over Bury, could be rewarded with a more prominent role during this afternoon’s visit to Charlton Athletic.
Wilder, who also acknowledged Leon Clarke has staked his own claim after returning from injury earlier this month, said: “Caolan is getting close to a start. When he came on, he gave us a real zip. That’s something we like about him. That and the fact you can see he’s not afraid to make a mistake which is important.
“He works hard and makes a nuisance of himself. With him and Leon also doing well, maybe that’s something we’ll have to look at. Possibly this weekend.”
Although both Lavery and Clarke are unlikely to both feature in United’s first choice eleven at The Valley - captain Billy Sharp has scored seven goals in his last six matches - Wilder could ring the changes when his team hosts Walsall next week to guard against fatigue.
United remained second in the League One table - six points behind leaders Scunthorpe with a game in hand - when they overcame Chris Brass’ side four days ago. Lavery and Clarke, another former Wednesday player, were summoned from the bench as nine-man Bury came within minutes of snatching a draw before Ethan Ebanks-Landell’s 94th minute strike.
With an ankle ligament problem hampering Lavery’s bid for fitness earlier this term, Wilder said: “Obviously he’s been out for a while and hasn’t played a lot of football for quite some time. But he’s worked hard to get himself into shape and he’s showing the right attitude on the training ground too.
“It’s nice to have an option like Caolan and Leon. They’re important for us now and also going forward.”