Brentford v Sheffield United: Proud Billy Sharp out to confound the critics

Getting the chance to represent your boyhood team happens maybe once in a professional footballer's career, if they are lucky.

Billy Sharp: In third spell with Blades.

Seldom do they get the chance to do it in more than one stint.

But for Billy Sharp, Sheffield United’s captain, he is now in his third spell with his beloved Blades.

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The 32-year-old says that only now is it beginning to dwell on him how fortunate he is.

“I think I didn’t really realise how special it is here until I came back for the third time,” said Sharp.

“Scoring goals is something I’ve always loved doing, but for Sheffield United it makes it just that extra bit special.

“It’s never been about money for me.

“It’s nice to earn money, but it’s even better to be scoring goals and especially for United.

“I want to try and get as many as I can between now and the end of the season.”

Sharp, with 13 goals this season, could prove crucial as Chris Wilder’s side chase a second successive promotion.

They begin their eight-game run-in with today’s trip to Brentford as they look to reduce the gap between themselves and the Championship play-off pack.

After running away with last season’s League One title, United have comfortably dealt with the step up to the second tier after a six-year hiatus.

Captain Sharp believes the team are continuing to confound pundits who dismissed their chances of back-to-back elevations.

“It’s a challenge we’re looking forward to,” continued Sharp.

“Some people might not have thought we would be in this position but we’ve got to grasp it with both hands and take advantage of it.

“As a team point of view, we never looked at just staying up.

“We believed we were better than that.

“Technically, mentally and physically we are a good team.

“It was tough to predict what we were going to do this season.

“We got off to a great start and we’re in with a good chance and if we can sneak in there (the play-offs) then we have a really good chance of promotion. I think we’ve had a really good season and huge credit goes to the gaffer and staff for driving us on.”

Last six games: Brentford DLLWLW Sheffield United DWDLWL

Referee: J Simpson (Lancashire)

Last time: Brentford 3 Sheffield United 1; August 10, 2013; League One.