Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has been giving an update on Billy Sharp ahead of the clash with Millwall this weekend.

The Blades need to bounce back from defeat against Middlesbrough in midweek. A trip to Millwall will prove a stern test, with the Lions battling for a playoff place themselves.

Gary Rowett will ensure he makes things hard for United. And with a few injuries to the Blades squad and attacking options quite light, Rowett will hope to get right into the United front two.

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Of course, one of those forwards struggling for fitness is Billy Sharp. And speaking in his presser today, Heckingbottom says that Sharp is desperate to play, but ultimately won’t make the Millwall trip.

“Sooner rather than later but this game will be too soon for him. He’s got the usual footballer’s ankle when it’s had a bit of a battering and swelled up in response. So it’s been about getting that swelling down. I have just left him there hopping and jumping about, telling me he’s fit. It’s settling down well,” Heckingbottom said.

Oli McBurnie and Iliman Ndiaye are the most likely pairing for the Blades. Daniel Jebbison will once again get the nod on the bench, with Will Osula struggling for fitness.

Sheffield United News View: Sharp absence will be felt in key games

For all the talk of we don’t want to see Sharp starting every week and how we should have moved on from him by now, the fact remains is that he’s key to this squad.

In a crucial run of games coming up before the int’l break, Sharp will be vital. Certain games are going to be tight and nervy affairs, and Sharp is the sort of player who can decide those games.

So, while news of his injury not being too bad is good, we could have done with him at Millwall.

It’s a huge game this weekend, and the Blades simply must respond with three points.

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