Page confident Cobblers can blunt Sheffield United's Sharp-shooter

Sharp by name, Sharp by nature - and Cobblers boss Rob Page says his team will do all they can to stifle the attacking threat of Sheffield United's top scorer at Bramall Lane on Saturday (ko 1pm).

Saturday, 31st December 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 12:41 pm
Sheffield United top scorer Billy Sharp

Billy Sharp is a man in red-hot form at the moment, having scored four times in the past two games and 11 in his past 11 league games.

The club skipper at Bramall Lane, Sharp has started every one of the Blades’ 23 Sky Bet League One games to date, and has hammered home 16 goals.

A Sheffield lad, Sharp is in his third stint at his hometown club and is enjoying the most prolific scoring spell of his career, netting 37 times in just 74 appearances.

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Still only 30, Sharp also has previous with the Cobblers, having scored a dramatic last-minute winner for Rushden & Diamonds, where he was on loan, as they beat Colin Calderwood’s Town team 3-2 at Nene Park in March, 2005.

Sharp was then a teenager starting to make his way in the game, and he has also played for the likes of Doncaster Rovers and Southampton, who both paid more than £1m for his services, as well as Nottingham Forest and Leeds United.

Page is an admirer of the player, and believes he could easily still be playing at Championship level, but he is confident his defence can handle the striker.

“Sheffield is his home club, and he could play higher in my opinion, he has that ability,” said Page when asked about the threat of Sharp.

“To be able to sign him and bring him in when they did was a fantastic signing for Sheffield United.

“It also says a lot about the player as no doubt he would have had offers from clubs higher up the league at the time, and from the Championship too.

“So credit to him, he has gone to his home club and he is enjoying his football, which shows.

“We have to make sure we combat that on Saturday and deal with it, but when you are a club like Sheffield United, with the support they get, they are going to encourage players iike Billy Sharp to join them.

“We are prepared for it, we have done our work on the training pitch, and we will make sure we are right going into it.”

The Cobblers are hoping that Sam Hoskins will have recovered from a hamstring strain to take his place in the match day squad at Bramall Lane, while Brendan Moloney is still missing due to his knee problem.