Thursday, August 22, 2019

From bottom to top for Ward?

Not too many players down the years have started the season in England’s bottom tier and ended it in the top flight, but Jamie Ward could well manage the feat.

The Sheffield United striker started the campaign for Chesterfield in League Two and netted 12 goals for the Spireites before the turn of the year.

The 23-year was turning heads in the bottom division and almost signed for Barnsley before he agreed a three-and-a-half-year deal and signed for the Blades for £330,000.

And Ward has proved to be a shrewd signing for Kevin Blackwell and if he’s fit he’ll start the Championship play-off final against Burnley on Monday.

Ward has only managed two goals since his move, but he has established himself in Blackwell’s first-choice XI and developed a good understanding with Darius Henderson.

Both players though are doubts for the Wembley showdown. Henderson is struggling with an Achilles problem and Ward has a hamstring strain.

The duo’s absence would be a huge blow for the Blades, who are slight Championship favourites to win promotion to the promised land.

Blackwell’s charges are football odds of 1.9 to be promoted, but life will be tough in the final against Burnley, who have beaten five Premier League teams this season.

Fulham, Spurs, West Brom, Arsenal and Chelsea have all been brushed aside and after two wins over the Blades in the Championship this season they will be full of confidence.

Once again Monday’s game – the most valuable in world football – will be compulsive viewing and could prove a fairytale ending to the season for Ward.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phil Tomlinson


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