We’re walking a bit of a tightrope at Bramall Lane and the moment.
And we’re in grave danger of losing one key thing that is keeping us balanced.
Speaking after the victory over Reading on Tuesday night, Blades boss Chris Wilder spoke about how important club captain Billy Sharp has been to the squad, even if he hasn’t been playing much in recent months:
“He’s not played a lot of football leading up to Christmas but he’s kept himself in great shape and he’s always had a part to play. He epitomises what we’re about, selfless, when he plays there’s still life in him – who’s to say that he’s not got a little bit more left in the tank?”
And whilst it’s all well and good that Sharp can continue to help us out, I feel that we’re slowly coming to the end of his usefulness for us. This stat from the club’s social media feed sort of makes my point, in that whenever he’s involved, he manages to help us in one way or another.
But what happens when he can’t do that anymore. After all, he is 34 and won’t be going on forever.
Sharp scores vital goals for us, be they the late equaliser away at Bournemouth, or the winner last night against Reading, so they gain more importance, but when it comes to the grand scheme of things, he just hasn’t delivered this season. We’ve been lucky that our defence, second-best in the league has papered over the cracks that our attack hasn’t been pulling up trees this season, and that has to get better as we go forward.
Is Billy Sharp our most important player?
And this takes me on to my much larger point, in that the forwards at the club, and indeed the midfielders need to step up their game going forward and into next season. The fact that our top scorer this season has only got five goals in all competitions should really be setting alarm bells ringing.
So hopefully towards the end of this season, as we begin plans for the 2020/21 campaign, the team will get their act in gear when it comes to finding the back of the net on a more regular basis. Otherwise we could be setting ourselves up for a bit of a fall next year when we don’t have anyone to get us out of trouble.