Paul Heckingbottom delivers a message to Sheffield United duo Daniel Jebbison and Iliman Ndiaye

SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Paul Heckingbottom has provided a message of hope to striker Daniel Jebbison - and has stressed that he is in 'the picture' with his time likely to come.

Jebbison, 18, was recalled from a season-long loan at Burton Albion at the end of January after scoring nine times for the Brewers.

Yet he featured just once as a late substitute in February, coming on in the 4-0 win over Swansea City, with the form of the likes of Blly Sharp and Morgan Gibbs-White meaning that he must bide his time.

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But Jebbison, 18 - who burst onto the scene and became the youngest player to score on his maiden Premier League start when he netted at the age of 17 years and 309 days in the win at Everton in May - has been handed some positive and constructive advice by the man who handed him his debut in Heckingbottom.

Daniel Jebbison. Picture: SPORTIMAGE

Heckingbottom, whose Blades side welcome Championship play-off rivals Nottingham Forest on Friday night, said: "He (Jebbison) has got to get past them (the current strikers), simple as that.

"We look at how is in form and Bill (Billy Sharp) has been doing great and scoring goals and Morgan has and there is Iliman (Ndiaye) and Oli Mac (McBurnie) and Jebbo is in among that. Jebbo does offer something different.

"If you think back to when I used him in the Premier League and the role he played as that nine in really stretching the game and pressing and making sure that we were defending and in that mid third of the pitch, we used his energy to exploit that space in behind.

"If he didn't get it, he'd make space for our 'tens'. But there have not been many games set up like that this season and that is a difference in this leagye.

"But in terms of Jebbo's development, that is not a bad thing as he is having to work on a lot of things and realise and develop other parts of his game.

"There's lots of work going on with Jebbo, without a doubt and he is certainly in the picture. Each one of the strikers is different."

Heckingbottom has also played a leading role in the development of Ndiaye, who has proved himself to be one of the Championship's outstanding young talents this season.

His performances have placed a great deal of expectation onto his young shoulders, but Heckingbottom is keen to provide some perspective, given his young age of 21 with the player in his first full season of senior competitive football at a high level.

He commented: "He is learning at the thick end. You look at Illy's background and where he has come from and the experiences he has had, he is still a baby in terms of his development and not being in academy systems, the level is a massive jump.

"Even on Saturday was a great example of where he is at. There were moments where everyone could see he is a fantastic player in the way he handles the ball and how brave he is to get on it.

"But it is not about looking good but being good and we have got to get a winning team nd that is always my thought.

"The only thing missing in his performances lately is possibly his goals. Where he has had those big chances and if he had taken the goals, who knows - he may be the one name down on the teamsheet first.

"But it is tough to criticise someone who works very hard and is always brave to take the ball."