The Chalkboard: Scott Hogan must play if Sheffield United are to achieve promotion

Sheffield United suffered their first major hiccup in the bid for automatic promotion last Saturday but they have a chance to bounce back this weekend and continue to put pressure on Leeds when they face Preston.

Wholesale changes aren’t needed after defeat to Bristol City, but the return of Scott Hogan could make a huge difference in attack.

Chris Wilder seems unsure over who is best to partner Billy Sharp at the moment and, after substituting Hogan and David McGoldrick for each other in matches against Brentford and Bristol, he now needs to settle on a preferred choice.

First goal for the Blades

Hogan’s goal last weekend was his first for the club and his cameo gave a brief display of why Aston Villa paid as much as £12m for the striker back in 2017.

The 26-year-old is a natural goal scorer but his career has been halted in the past two years due to a succession of injuries.

Before signing for Villa he’d scored 14 in 25 matches in the Championship for Brentford. However, since then, he’s only managed to score eight goals, struggling for any form or consistency.

But now the striker is fit he can become pivotal to the Blades’ promotion hopes.

Replacing McGoldrick

McGoldrick has had a tremendous season for the Yorkshire side, scoring 12 goals and providing three assists. However, he’s only scored twice in his last 13 games for club and country. Although he offers more than goals to Wilder’s team, his inconsistency of late could become an issue in the promotion run in.

This is why the Blades’ boss must find room for Hogan in his team this weekend and for the rest of the season.

His ability to be in the right place at the right time is a key attribute and, with every moment proving crucial at the business end of the season, Hogan is a necessity.