Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, has reassured Steven Davies he is under no pressure to claim his first Sheffield United goal when Crewe Alexandra visit Bramall Lane today, writes James Shield.
Instead, speaking ahead of a match which could see United record their third home win in the space of a week, Clough insisted the centre-forward, on loan from Blackpool, has already proven himself to be among the League One club’s most valuable acquisitions.
“We’re not really bothered if Steven doesn’t score,” Clough said. “His all-round play has been excellent.
“If we are going to play the way we are, we need that focal point he provides us with.
“Steven has been contributing in other ways. Even if he’s not put the ball in the back of the net yet, which he will do, he’s still bringing plenty to the table with him.”
Davies, previously of Derby County and Bristol City, made his fifth appearance since arriving at Bramall Lane during Tuesday’s victory over Scunthorpe. United, who must decide whether to recall Matt Done for their meeting with Crewe, beat Port Vale three days to end their run of back-to-back draws.
With Michael Higdon still nursing a hamstring complaint and former loanee Chris O’Grady recalled by Brighton and Hove Albion earlier this term, Davies has filled the void in United’s squad for a combative striker which, Clough recently cited as a major factor behind their sometimes inconsistent results.
“Chris provided it when he was here,” Clough said. “And Steven is doing it now.”
Higdon, who has missed United’s last 14 fixtures, had been poised to return earlier this month before aggravating the injury in training. Defenders Terry Kennedy and Jay McEveley are also close to fitness following their respective knee and shoulder problems. Crewe are without Marcus Haber and Jamie Jones due to their international commitments but Ryan Colclough could feature on the bench despite being troubled by a series of hip and hernia issues.
George Ray is also a doubt due to a rib problem.
Clough, whose side are fifth in the table, said: “Michael was doing really well and then, just as we were about to step things up, he had a bit of a set-back. It was a real shame for him because he’s been working so hard to get himself out there on the pitch again.
“It’s the type of injury, though, that you just can’t take any risks with or rush. It needs to be completely right.”
United, meanwhile, have unveiled season ticket details for the 2015/16 campaign.
Prices, which start at £320 for adults, £220 OAP’s and £40 under-18’s, can now be paid in interest free instalments and also include the first home cup tie.