Sheffield United will be aiming to move one step closer to a return to the Premier League on Saturday when they host Ipswich Town at Bramall Lane on Saturday.
The Blades are currently second in the Championship and with a three-point lead over their nearest promotion rivals Leeds United with just two games left to play this season, they are in control of their own fate.
Suffering from a contrast in fortunes when compared to United, the Tractor Boys have already been relegated to League One and are on course to equal their worst ever second tier campaign in terms of points gained (28).
Whilst the decision by Ipswich to release David McGoldrick at the end of the previous season may have seemed to be the right call given his history of injury problems, it is now clear that letting the forward go was a huge mistake.
Since making the move to South Yorkshire last summer, the 31-year-old has been in fantastic form for the Blades and is one of the key reasons for why the club are fighting for a top-two finish this season. With Will Keane being brought in as a replacement for McGoldrick, let’s compare the qualities of both players in the battle below.
When Chris Wilder decided to offer David McGoldrick a short-term deal at United after an initial trial period in pre-season, the club’s supporters must have been concerned about his ability to stay fit throughout the course of 46 games. However, the forward has proved everybody wrong as he has remarkably stayed injury-free which has allowed him to feature in all but one of the club’s fixtures in the Championship.
Forming a deadly partnership with fellow striker Billy Sharp, McGoldrick has fired in 15 goals this year with his latest appearance yielding an impressive brace in a 3-0 win against Hull City on Easter Monday.
With promotion well and truly on the cards for the Blades this season, it will be interesting to see whether the former Nottingham Forest man can make the adjustments needed to thrive in the top-flight of English football.
TT GRADE: A
Tasked with the almost-impossible task of scoring the goals that would give Ipswich hope of staying up in the Championship, Will Keane had to deal with the weight of expectancy when he joined the club on loan from Hull City in January.
Not at all fazed with the pressure to deliver, the 26-year-old made an instant impact by scoring the winner on his debut against Rotherham United and added to his tally in draws with Stoke City and Wigan Athletic.
However, a hamstring injury saw the ex-Manchester United striker miss seven weeks of action and in his absence, the Tractor Boys were relegated. Although a permanent move to Portman Road is now looking extremely unlikely, Keane will nevertheless be wanting to finish his spell at the club on a high before returning to Hull in the summer.
TT GRADE: C+
Despite both forwards having their own unique qualities, when it comes to pitting them against each other, there is simply only one winner; McGoldrick. Without doubt one of the best players in the Championship this season, he has produced a consistent level of performance that Keane has been unable to match for the Tractor Boys since moving to the club early on this year.
Blades and Ipswich fans, who do you think wins this battle? Join the discussion by commenting below.
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