Blades power surge

Will Hoskins. Photo credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.
Will Hoskins. Photo credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

Danny Wilson believes Sheffield United have the power to surge on for promotion after escaping the cuts that threatened to damage their bid.

Wilson is jubilant to see the back of January with his team not only intact but also strengthened by the deadline-beating arrival of former Rotherham striker Will Hoskins.

In truth, the Blades boss might have settled for less. But he made a strong stand on these pages at the turn of the year, trusting in a collective holding of nerve, and has emerged unscathed.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” Wilson told the Telegraph after being spared the late departure he must have feared after Jordan Slew’s 11th hour exit to Blackburn in the August window.

“The players have done so well and have gelled so well that it would have been a shame to break it up.”

United’s need to lower their wage bill is both well documented and accepted, but Wilson and his team launched some self-help with a perfectly timed run after recently-appointed chief executive Julian Winter’s declaration that the side’s position would have a “major” bearing on transfer policy.

Wilson added: “I always understood what might happen and the reasons why. I wouldn’t have enjoyed that but I couldn’t whinge. I’m realistic enough to know that if something had come in there would have been a big decision to make. Not an easy one, either.

“But it would have been a disappointment to lose anybody.” The added bonus has been the loan signing of Hoskins from Brighton, on top of securing James Beattie for the rest of the season. With just three senior strikers, it was always Wilson’s intention to provide more back-up in that department.

Hoskins represents a carefully calculated move in League One promotion terms. Wilson explained: “I didn’t want a young player from the Premier League or Championship. I wanted someone who could walk straight in at this level.”

He may have to settle for the bench at Colchester on Saturday, but Hoskins has a strong pedigree in the lower divisions including an impressive stint at Bristol Rovers.

“Will has had some frustration with injuries and also not playing first team football,” said Wilson.

“But another reason for signing him is that he fits in with our style of play. His movement is very good, he has decent pace, is creative and can score goals.

“He’s also a good team player. It’s about the team rather than individuals if we are to prosper in the end. The games will come thick and fast in a tough run-in.

“Will has a challenge in front of him because of our other strikers but we needed that extra strength in this position.”

Wilson expects John Ward’s Colchester to be a typically tough nut to crack this weekend, adding: “John’s a very experienced manager and we have to be respectful.

“Not many teams go there and succeed.”

Finally, my thanks to reader Sue Burns from Holmesfield - and several Twitter followers - for pointing out that Danny Wilson was in fact serenaded for the first time by Blades fans at Charlton a fortnight ago.

All together now - to the tune of Walking in a Winter Wonderland:

“Oh Danny Wilson, oh Danny Wilson

He used to be sh***, but now he’s all right,

Walking in a Wilson Wonderland”

And Sue signs off: “Praise indeed for an ex-Wendy from the Blades faithful!”