Billy can’t wait for Blades to take on Wigan

Billy Sharp celebrates
Billy Sharp celebrates
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In-form Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp is relishing a real Christmas cracker at Wigan Athletic on Boxing Day.

The Blades striker netted his second goal in as many games on Saturday as United defeated Scunthorpe - Sharp’s former employers - for the first time ever at Glanford Park.

Six days earlier, Sharp came off the bench to net the winner against Coventry - ending his eight-game run without a goal. He travels to Wigan’s DW Stadium looking to reach double figures for the season, and said: “I always thought Wigan would be up there come the end of the season. They have a strong squad and, although they had a slow start, they’re starting to pick up now.

“It should be a good game; another tight one, I would have thought. Hopefully, we can keep things tight and get another good result.”

United travel over the Pennines with a renewed sense of confidence after three straight wins, which have propelled them to within a point of the play-offs.

Importantly, United’s defence have kept three successive clean sheets and Sharp added: “That breeds confidence as a team. We’re always confident that we’ll score goals in this team, with the players we have. But for the back five, keeping clean sheets is like scoring a goal.

“We can’t expect to dominate any team for 90 minutes but we were decent in the second half at Scunthorpe. We’re in touching distance of the play-offs now; of course, we still want automatic promotion but we don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves.

“We just want to build some momentum now and keep climbing that table.”

Jamal Campbell-Ryce, on the bench at Glanford Park, could return after recovering from a hamstring injury while Blades boss Nigel Adkins hopes to recall Bob Harris, especially with Jay McEveley a doubt.

“Jam has done well for us this season,” Adkins said.

“But, of course, we don’t want him to break down again. We always want competition for places but at the same time, continuity of selection is important, too.

“I only made one change for Scunthorpe from the Coventry game, and hopefully that’ll help us stay in the flow.

“We have the resilience in the team to make sure we’re defensively solid now and the lads have shown that they’ll have a right go for each other.”