Sheffield United will travel to Reading next week to fight it out for a place in the FA Cup semi-finals and it will be the perfect time to release Richairo Zivkovic.
The 23-year-old striker arrived at Bramall Lane in January. After making the switch from China, the Dutchman has been involved in some intensive training to get him up to speed with life in the English game.
However, he has yet to be handed a place in Chris Wilder’s matchday squad.
But with Reading struggling in the Championship and United having Premier League priorities, the trip to Berkshire could be the ideal chance to give Zivkovic his chance.
Chris Wilder has already admitted his new signings are pushing hard. What better time, then, to unleash one or more them against lower-league opposition.
While Reading will be preparing for United as best they can, they’ll no doubt be preparing to come up against the likes of Oli McBurnie or Billy Sharp.
The pair have started United’s last few games and could well get the nod again. However, Wilder might well be wise to give his new forward a go from the off in the hope of catching the Royals off guard somewhat.
Little is known amongst most casual fans about Zivkovic. Therefore, the easy assumption to make would be that Reading won’t have as much data on him either.
Of course, they’ll have their own research and scouting networks but Zivkovic is very much an unknown quantity.
What we do know about him, is that he has bags of pace. That in itself could be something to worry a Royals defence that has, so far, done pretty well in only conceding only 41 goals in the Championship. (That is lower than any other team up to Millwall in tenth)
Sheffield United will want to get through against Reading but do it with minimal fuss. Giving Richairo Zivkovic his bow in the English game, then, might be one way of going about getting the job done.