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THREE TO WATCH: SHEFFIELD UNITED

14 February 2017

Take a look at the potential threats in the ranks of Tuesday's opponents, Sheffield United.

#10 - Billy Sharp - Striker



Sheffield-born Sharp is now in his third spell with the Blades and is currently the top goalscorer in SkyBet League One this campaign.

Following his progression through the youth set up at Sheffield United, the striker made his debut for his home-town club during the 2004-2005 campaign but was shortly loaned out to Rushden & Diamonds, where he began his impressive goal scoring record, bagging nine goals in just sixteen appearances.

Scunthorpe was the next destination for the forward, as he signed at Glanford Park ahead of the 2005/2006 season. During his first season with Scunthorpe, Sharp linked up with young striker Andy Keogh and formed a prolific partnership, which saw the forward find the net on twenty-three occasions.

Sharp rejoined Sheffield United in July 2007, for a fee four times higher than what Scunthorpe had acquired the striker for just two seasons previously. The striker bagged his first goal for Sheffield in a League Cup victory over Morecambe. Following Sheffield's failure to win promotion to the Premier League in 2008/09, the striker was placed on the transfer list and joined Doncaster Rovers on a season-long loan in September 2009.

Sharp started the 2009/10 campaign brightly for Doncaster, scoring against his former club Scunthorpe United and scoring an impressive ten goals in seventeen games.

The striker signed a permanent deal at the Keepmoat in the summer of 2010 and continued to score on a regular basis, with the striker recording twenty-five goals in just fifty appearances.

Sharp's ability to score consistently attracted the attention of Southampton, with the striker making the move to St Mary's in the final days of the January 2012 transfer window and the forward scored on his debut for the south-coast club just days later and managed to finish the 2011/2012 season with a goal tally of nineteen.

In August 2012 the striker joined Nottingham Forest on a season-long loan and during his season at the City Ground the striker managed to earn the accolade of Forest's top-goalscorer before the striker linked up with former boss Neil Adkins with a brief stint on loan at Reading in September 2013.

In January 2014 the striker returned to Doncaster Rovers on loan and found the net four occasions up until the end of the 2014/15 season, with the striker returning to Yorkshire permanently in the summer with a move to Leeds United.

The strikers stay at Elland Road only last a season, with the forward re-joining Sheffield United last summer ahead of the current SkyBet League One season.

Sharp has been on target in Sheffield's last two fixtures, with the striker reaching the twenty-goal landmark of during United's victory at Peterborough on Saturday, with the striker also helping his teams cause with four assists.

#16 - James Hanson - Striker



The twenty-nine-year-old striker is a new addition to the Sheffield squad, following his arrival from Bradford City during the January transfer window.

Born in Bradford, the striker began his career by playing semi-professionally with both Eccleshill United and Guiseley, before signing a professional contract with Bradford City in July 2009.

The striker was a prominent feature for Bradford during the 2009/2010 season, scoring thirteen goals and winning Bradford's Player of the Month award. 

Hanson helped Bradford reach the final of the League Cup during the 2012/13 season and his goals were instrumental in Bradford winning promotion via the play-offs that season, with the striker bagging a goal in Bradford's defeat of Northampton in the play-off final.

The striker opened his account for Sheffield United on his debut against AFC Wimbledon.

#18 - Kieron Freeman - Defender 



The young defender has been a regular feature for Sheffield United this season, featuring in thirty-two games so far.

Starting his career at Nottingham Forest, the defender was introduced to the first-team setup at the City Ground by Billy Davies, with the youngster making his debut in August 2011 during a League Cup victory over Wycombe Wanderers. 

Spells on loan both Mansfield and Notts County allowed the defender to gain first-team exposure before he moved to join East-Midlands rivals Derby County ahead of the 2012/13 campaign.

Freeman was a regular feature for Derby, but following the arrival of Adam Smith and Andrew Wisdom on loan, the defender found himself down the pecking order and re-joined Notts County on loan.

The defender joined Sheffield United on a free transfer in January 2015 and to date has made over sixty appearances for the Blades.

Freeman has been on the scoresheet three times since the start of 2017, taking his goal tally to six goals in all competitions so far this season, making the right-back one of the highest scoring defenders in Sky Bet League One.

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