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Report claims Blades 25-year-old in 'pole position' to land first-team berth

Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic is reportedly ready to throw Oli McBurnie in up front in place of Billy Sharp, if the manager feels the need for change at the top end of the pitch.

Despite Sharp being United’s talisman this season with three goals and four assists to his name in the Championship, question marks remain over the rest of the Blades strikers. Indeed, there’s a small worry among some fans about what seems to be an over-reliance on a 35-year-old striker.

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Both Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster have netted in the cup. But the pair – who cost United around £40m – have failed to have a big impact under Jokanovic, while Sharp thrives. Beyond that, both Lys Mousset and David McGoldrick have struggled with injury.

However, Jokanovic has told the Sheffield Star that he expects his strikers to be ready when asked.

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“Billy is in right now. But the rest, they have to make sure they are ready if we decide to make a change or need to make a change. That is what you must do – always show that you should be playing when you train and when you come on,” Jokanovic is quoted as saying.

“We do not want it (picking a side) to be easy. It isn’t. And if we are to achieve what we are aiming for, then it can never be that way. It can not happen.”

McBurnie Making an Impression

We’ve already written this season how McBurnie probably deserves a run of games at some point. His performance against Southampton was excellent, showing very much what he can bring to the table.

And The Star reports that it is indeed McBurnie who is in ‘pole position’ to step in for Billy Sharp, if Jokanovic wants to make that change. The big striker did fairly well in his debut Premier League season. He scored six goals, including crucial ones against Man United and Brighton.

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But since then, like so many in this squad, it hasn’t gone to plan. McBurnie found the net just once last term. However, there is a belief among many that given the right service, McBurnie will score goals at this level.

Indeed, he hit 24 for Swansea the season before United sign him, suggesting he very much can do it at this level.

Now then, after impressing Jokanovic in training, it seems vital that McBurnie take his chance should it come along in what will be a busy few weeks of football for Sheffield United.

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