SHEFFIELD UNITED: Nick Blackman, man who can’t be stopped

Top talent: Sheffield United's Nick Blackman
Top talent: Sheffield United's Nick Blackman

LEAGUE One defenders will find it impossible to stop Nick Blackman when the Sheffield United centre-forward hits top form, Michael Doyle has predicted ahead of tonight’s clash with Crewe Alexandra.

Doyle, the United captain, described his teammate as “unplayable” during last weekend’s victory over Stevenage which propelled Danny Wilson’s side to second in the table.

After watching Blackman score nine goals in only 20 appearances since arriving from Blackburn Rovers during the close season, Doyle said: “When Nick plays like that he can be unstoppable. He’s got a great touch but he’s so big and strong. I thought he was fantastic against Stevenage.

“He was a great outlet for those of us in midfield and the quality of ball he kept putting into the box was excellent.”

Having been deployed in a wide rather than central role against the visitors from Hertfordshire, Blackman is set to be handed a similar brief when Crewe arrive at Bramall Lane this evening.

“I don’t know whether he’s ever played out there before because I’ve not really spoken to Nick about it,” Doyle added.

“But, from what we’ve seen, it’s obviously something that he’s suited too

“You never know. That might end up being his best position. But he can score goals too so, to have all of that in his locker, Nick is clearly a really promising player.”

Doyle’s testimony about Blackman’s talents speaks volumes given the Lane skipper’s reputation for being a hard taskmaster behind the scenes.

“If someone isn’t doing their job then I wouldn’t shy away from telling them,” the former Coventry City midfielder said.

“I like to think I’m quite relaxed away from football but this is my job so I’m serious about it.

“I know I can be quite intense. I realise it myself at times.

“But I don’t think I’d change anything in that regard because, like I say, this is my profession and it’s what I do for a living so why wouldn’t I be serious about it?”