Forte spurred on by his love for the Lane

He's a Blade: Centre-forward Jonathan Forte progressed through the ranks before returning on loan
He's a Blade: Centre-forward Jonathan Forte progressed through the ranks before returning on loan

Sheffield United: Forte’s love affair with United

“Because of where I am now I couldn’t be more determined to succeed,” the on-loan centre-forward said. “When things go well it just feels absolutely brilliant but of course, because this is my club, when something bad happens it hurts even worse.”

Forte was referring to what he acknowledges was “a horrible miss” towards the end of Monday’s stalemate with Carlisle.

Nevertheless, United’s gruelling fixture schedule means he will enjoy an early chance of redemption when they visit Walsall tomorrow.

“I’ve grown-up a lot since I was last here,” Forte, who progressed through Bramall Lane’s youth system before returning three months ago, told The Star. “I’m a different person now.

“Before, when something didn’t go well, I’d beat myself up about it for weeks. Now, I’ll do that for a day or two and then put it behind me.

“That’s what you’ve got to do. There’s nothing to be gained from moping around.

“You’ve got to look forward rather than back. I’m still my own worst critic but only positively.

“I’ve got a lot more experience than I used to and that really helps. I’ve learned a lot along the way.”

Walsall might be low on profile but they are high on talent. And, in many respects, a model club.

There was plenty of discontent when Dean Smith’s side won only 11 matches in all competitions last term.

But chairman Jeff Bonser’s faith in the former defender’s ability has been rewarded with United’s latest opponents ranked eighth in the table and unbeaten in 12 outings.

Another slow starter, Northern Ireland centre-forward Will Grigg, has been a driving force behind their emergence as serious play-off contenders.

Despite scoring only eight goals in his first 65 senior appearances, the 21-year-old enters the meeting with Wilson’s charges searching for his 10th in nine.

Forte, who joined parent club Southampton after impressing at Scunthorpe, is not the first centre-forward to trouble the bloopers reel this season.

As Robin Van Persie, Cristiano Ronaldo and Demba Ba can testify, it comes with the territory. A point Wilson was keen to emphasise during his media briefing yesterday.

“Jonno will get goals,” the United manager said. “If he keeps getting in the right positions then he’ll do well. Don’t worry about that.

“It’s only if he doesn’t keep making those runs and getting into those positions that he’ll get a b********g from me.”

With Dave Kitson nursing a hamstring complaint, Forte is expected to make his eighth appearance since leaving St Mary’s during tomorrow’s crucial League One fixture at the Bescot Stadium.

Fourth placed United would climb to second if they record their 12th away victory of the competition and other results go their way.

“It’s not just goalies who tread that fine line I suppose,” Forte said. “We do in our position too.

“Sometimes, it’s the easier chances as it were that are harder to stick away because there’s a temptation to relax more.

“I think that’s what happened (against Carlisle) and there was a bit of a bobble too but, no excuses, I should have put it away.

“But now, rather than dwell on that, I’ll learn from it to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again. You never, ever stop learning.”

“We’re in a great situation despite the frustration (of Carlisle),” Forte added. “We are still in control and we all know where we want to be.

“The important thing is to make sure we get there.”

*Twitter: JamesShield1