Blades look forward and strike out for promotion

Sheffield utd v Yeovil......Blades..GOAL...Blades Lee Williamson celebrates the thjird goal with Stephen Quinn
Sheffield utd v Yeovil......Blades..GOAL...Blades Lee Williamson celebrates the thjird goal with Stephen Quinn

Danny Wilson’s determination to strike out for promotion has a quite literal meaning at Bramall Lane in the heart of the transfer window.

“You can never have too many strikers” is a mantra followed by many managers, most notably including Neil Warnock during his time at Sheffield United.

Sheffield utd v Yeovil......Blades..GOAL...Blades Richard Cresswell celebrates his goal

Sheffield utd v Yeovil......Blades..GOAL...Blades Richard Cresswell celebrates his goal

Warnock had arguably too many - seven or eight front-liners at one stage of his Blades reign. Wilson, without argument, has too few.

Ched Evans, Chris Porter and Richard Cresswell are the only senior frontmen on United’s books amid a large question mark over whether James Beattie will remain.

It’s why the addition of two and maybe three forwards - particularly if Evans is lured away - is dominating Wilson’s window agenda.

And that’s despite a handsome 4-0 home win over Yeovil hoisting the Blades back into second spot.

Have to be careful here as these are just guesses. What about a loan approach for Jordan Slew, who has got no further than the Blackburn bench since his £1m departure for Ewood Park in the last window? Remember how Kyle Walker was borrowed back from Spurs a few years ago.

And Barnsley’s transfer-listed Danny Haynes may have been discussed prior to a swoop by League One leaders Charlton.

Whatever, Haynes and Slew are perhaps of the type most needed. Both Porter and Cresswell can play the target man role. Evans, too, did the job impressively during a spell as a lone front player early last season.

Right now Evans is a clear number one in the poaching department with 17 goals this time. Back-up figures are less spectacular, albeit respectable - Cresswell and Porter both have seven. Overall, United are soaring in the scoring stakes - 66 goals in all competitions and 49 goals in 25 league games, as many as Charlton and only two adrift of Jordan Rhodes’ Huddersfield.

Yet, despite the welcome spread of goals, the feeling persists they could have got many more, often running out narrow winners or spilling points in games they have largely dominated.

Sometimes it also comes down to creativity and the killer pass, which is why Blackpool’s recent Blades loanee Billy Clarke, not a prolific marksman, is a confirmed option.

Clarke, whose only goal this season was for United, set up half-a-dozen in operating as a sort of deep-lying forward.

Slightly further back, Kevin McDonald is happily showing signs of coming into his own as an architect who gives United better balance alongside Michael Doyle in midfield.

It’s in this area, too, that if there has to be a departure relieving pressure on the wage bill a headline departure is perhaps looking most likely.

Nick Montgomery, out of the team lately, is a subject for debate as arguably a less than easy fit into Wilson’s fluent passing style now that Doyle has bedded down in the holding role. Summer recruit Ryan Flynn is offering a welcome wide threat in addition to Stephen Quinn.

Ideally, Wilson will keep all his most proven troops, with a premium on retaining Evans as a matchwinner who would be difficult, if not impossible, to replace.

Personally, I feel off-field issues will drive this debate in United’s short-term favour, ironically considering he was the top-paid star most hawked around last summer. It is doubtful whether any of Evans’ many admirers will take the plunge - especially on a full transfer - until these are resolved.

He has shown great strength of character to hit the best form of his career, aided by Wilson’s expertise as a formidable man-manager. The Blades boss has answered opponents of his appointment in the best possible way with many eating their words in public.

Although a residue of reservation remains from a minority - resulting in a few fantasy calls for the return of Warnock following his harsh sacking by QPR - Wilson has very deservedly established himself as the man to lead United’s renaissance.

He makes a proud return to former club Bury on Saturday.