Sheffield United: John Fleck pays tribute to Paul Coutts as Blades duo look to improve their goal output

Paul Coutts and John Fleck
Paul Coutts and John Fleck

Sheffield United midfielder John Fleck has paid tribute to “cracking” team-mate Paul Coutts - while admitting the two need to improve their goal output.

The pair, who are expected to resume their partnership in central midfield this afternoon when Chris Wilder’s side travel to Yorkshire neighbours Bradford City, have impressed since being paired together in the absence of the suspended Chris Basham.

But with boss Wilder warning his side they must score at least 75 goals this season or risk suffering another year in League One, Fleck admits: “Me and Paul had a chat with the manager last week and he said he wanted us to get some goals.

“Sometimes, I look for a pass for a striker to score but that’s something I have got to improve and work on.

“But it’s a good partnership with Couttsy. I knew him before I came here from Scotland and he’s a cracking player.

“You try and take something from everyone you play with.

“Bash’s energy is incredible, Stefan Scougall’s energy is incredible and everyone has got different attributes.”

Fleck’s last goal came back in April, for Coventry, and Coutts’ first strike for United - in the Checkarade Trophy defeat to Walsall earlier this month - ended a remarkable 93-game goalless run, stretching back to his time at Derby.

But the rejuvenated midfielder has seemingly rediscovered his attacking instincts after a series of commanding displays, and former Rangers man Fleck added: “We’ve played some nice football which has been easy on the eye recently.

“But you’re not always going to be able to do that so as long as we are fighting for each other, that’s the main thing. This division is always hard.

“Quite a few teams want to hit it long and compete for the second balls. That’s something you have to deal with and, if you fight, then you can start playing your own game.”