Sheffield United might have two games left of this Championship season, but there is a sense that Friday’s trip to QPR is the all or nothing part of the bargain.
Should the Blades win the three points, then a playoff place could be sealed before we even play Fulham. It would require a few results to go our way, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.
Saturday’s 1-0 win over Cardiff felt like a big moment for the Blades. It was a scrappy affair where United teetered on the edge at times but in the end, got the job done as they have so many times under Heckingbottom. Of course, it was Iliman Ndiaye who got the goal, his second in as many games.
And Ndiaye scoring might have just given Heckingbottom a fresh but ideal selection headache at just the right moment in the season. Certainly, the young forward has answered the demand of his manager from a few weeks back.
After things started to look desperate for United, Ndiaye’s welcome return to the scoresheet and the return of Billy Sharp should give the squad fresh impetus. Sharp’s return against Cardiff was notable, and the crowd responded well.
However, with QPR on Friday night the focus of this Sheffield United squad, Heckingbottom has been left with a huge call in terms of who plays up top.
Of course, normal circumstances would suggest Sharp starts with Gibbs-White and Berge supporting. But can Heckingbottom really drop a young player in Ndiaye who will be flowing with confidence? Often, players like Ndiaye – who can produce moments of magic – produce their best when confidence is high. If that’s the case, Hecky might just stick with the youngster from the start.
Having Sharp as an option off the bench is perfect. The counter argument to that is that can we really afford to leave Sharp on the bench when chances might need to be taken early at Loftus Road.
Ultimately, it’s the question Heckingbottom has to answer. But rather than be worried, you can bet your bottom dollar the Blades boss is welcoming a selection headache for the right reasons for once.