Luke Freeman is happy for a change in fortune with Sheffield United

WHEN you are doing it tough at the start of a new season, you take any piece of fortune that comes your way.

Sheffield United's Luke Freeman gets away from Louie Sibley of Derby County during the Carabao Cup match at Bramall Lane. Picture: Alistair Langham/Sportimage

Sheffield United midfielder Luke Freeman can certainly vouch for that with his first-ever goal for the Blades owing a fair bit to an error from Derby custodian Ryan Allsop in the Rams’ 2-1 Carabao Cup exit at Bramall Lane on Tuesday.

It drew United level early in the second half on what had hitherto been a forgettable night to compound a stressful opening to 2021-22.

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The stage was then set for Billy Sharp to find the net for the second successive game from the bench, but this time there was no late sting unlike in Saturday’s painful episode against Huddersfield Town.

Freeman said: “You always feel like you are going to score when Billy comes on as he gives you that extra lift. He does what he does best and won us the game.”

And on his earlier noteworthy strike, he added: “I think the keeper helped me out a little bit, to be honest as I don’t think he expected me to get any contact on it towards goal.

“It was an awkward kind of height and he did not see it coming and he has done us a favour and I will take it.

“Every player wants to play and all you can do is take your opportunities when they come.”

With United still finding their way in the early stages of Slavisa Jokanovic’s tenure, Tuesday’s win – albeit in a cup competition – was precious and can aid in the confidence-building process according to Freeman.

The 29-year-old, who spent last season on loan at Nottingham Forest, commented: “It is building that confidence. Obviously, we have not had the best of starts, we all know that. But we feel we are not far off from where we need to be.

“I know it has not necessarily seemed like that.

“But it has been a bit of a change in style of play from the previous manager and something we are working relentlessly on.

“We want to take this positive result into Saturday.”

Middlesbrough striker Chuba Akpom has rejoined former side PAOK Salonika on a season-long loan deal.

The 25-year-old joined Boro from the Greek side in September last year in a £2.5m deal and has scored five goals in 40 appearances for Neil Warnock’s side.

The former Hull City man came off the bench in Saturday’s home defeat by QPR, his only action so far this season.