Billy Sharp can swing the battle for a League One play-off place in Sheffield United’s favour, captain Jay McEveley has claimed.
Sharp enters Wednesday’s televised encounter against Southend searching for his 11th goal in only 18 outings and McEveley is convinced the striker’s firepower, combined with United’s “never-say-die” approach means they remain genuine promotion contenders.
“Billy has got that knack of just being in the right place at the right time,” McEveley said. “He keeps on going on about scoring a brace because he always gets his goals in ones. But, so long as he’s scoring all the time, keeps doing what he’s doing, then I don’t care a bit.
“It’s great to have someone like him around because you know, no matter what the situation is, that Billy can pop up and score.”
United climbed to 11th, six points behind sixth-placed Bradford City with eight matches remaining, ahead of this week’s visit to Roots Hall following Good Friday’s victory over Crewe Alexandra. Sharp, whose late winner ensured Nigel Adkins’ side prevailed despite losing a 2-0 lead, is again expected to be the first name on the manager’s team sheet.
McEveley, the former Derby County and Blackburn Rovers defender, said: “I always knew the spirit was there, that never-say-die attitude. We’ll always run and fight until the end.
“There have been times, when we’ve been chasing games, that we could have been out of sight to begin with. “Not fighting and scrapping in the last 20 minutes so that’s something we’ve got to improve on. It could have been all gloom and doom after conceding two goal lead. You can either put your heads down or step-up and get on with it which is what we did. Every game is difficult, this league is a topsy turvy league. Southend won’t be the same as this so we’ve got to be ready to adapt and try to win the game.”
“This league is probably going to become even tighter as it were,” McEveley said. “There’s lots of teams fighting for the top six, teams fighting for survival at the bottom and lots of teams going for automatic promotion. “Everybody, right now, seems to be fighting for something and that means every game, from now on in, is going to be tough.”