Sheffield United: '˜This is the best feeling of my career' says skipper Billy Sharp ahead of Saturday'sÂ big Yorkshire derby
Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp believes he is producing the best football of his career after making a series of subtle adjustments to his game.
The centre-forward enters Saturday's game against Hull City searching for his ninth goal of the season after scoring four in the club's last three outings.
With two of those strikes coming during yesterday's victory over Blackburn Rovers, a result which lifted Chris Wilder's side to third in the Championship table, Sharp attributed his form to a combination of experience, commitment and the demands United's manager places upon players.
"I think I'm playing the best part of my career now," Sharp said. "I feel as good as I've ever done, seriously.
"In the last few years, I've added some other parts to my game and I'm delighted to be scoring for Sheffield United because that's what I want to do. Like the gaffer says, I've had to do other things and I'm loving it to be honest."
Speaking earlier this week, Wilder described Sharp's conditioning as exceptional after paying tribute to his work ethic.
The 32-year-old, who was on target 14 times last term, has forged a prolific partnership with new arrival David McGoldrick in recent weeks and, barring any unforeseen complications, both are expected to feature when Nigel Adkins' team visits South Yorkshire this weekend.
"When you're younger, sometimes things go in one ear and out the other," Sharp continued. "But I'm getting on a bit now and I've had to sacrifice a few things to get in the right shape. But that's okay because, to be honest, I'd rather keep my money in my pocket and be out there for United."
Sharp, a lifelong United supporter, also spoke of the sacrifices Paul Coutts has made after the midfielder made his long-awaited comeback from injury at Ewood Park.
Coutts had been out of action since November with a broken leg but was introduced during the second-half of United's 2-0 win.
"He's been in every single day, he's been working on his own and there's been times when it's got tough," Sharp said. "But he's embraced it and taken it in his stride. He's a big character in the dressing room."
"It was great to see him back out there in the thick of things," Sharp added. "He's only going to make our squad stronger. We've got a great squad, a really strong squad and there are some great players who can't even get on the bench at the moment. But we're going to need everyone pulling in the same direction."