Sheffield United: Why Robbo would be a wise choice

Tough competitor: Former Middlesbrough star Barry Robson
Tough competitor: Former Middlesbrough star Barry Robson

SCROLL through Barry Robson’s footballing CV, detailing spells with Middlesbrough, Celtic and Vancouver Whitecaps, and it is easy to fathom why Danny Wilson would be interested in signing the Scotland international, writes James Shield.

Robson, who according to sources in Canada is considering a transfer to Bramall Lane, possesses knowledge, respect and the devilish streak required to prosper in League One competition.

But most importantly, given the meagre returns of Sheffield United’s present midfield quartet, the ability to score goals.

“We definitely want more from those positions,” Wilson, speaking earlier this month, said. “The more threats we have the better it is for us and the harder for whoever we are playing.

“We don’t want to become too dependent on the lads up front but we’re not just looking for those in the middle to chip in because the same goes for the lads at the back too.

“We are always looking for areas and aspects where we can improve.”

Despite being a free agent - Robson has been training with Tony Mowbray’s squad at Rockliffe Park since leaving Vancouver earlier this month - the 34-year-old’s services do not come cheap.

Granted ‘Designated Player’ status by the MLS, which allowed Martin Rennie’s side to circumnavigate the competition’s strict salary regulations, Robson recently spoke of his desire to win further caps.

The appointment of Gordon Strachan, his manager at Parkhead and the Riverside, as Craig Levein’s successor at the SFA should enhance Robson’s prospects of a recall.

“Barry is a great bloke,” Strachan said after luring him south of the border in 2010. “The rest of the lads here seem to love working with him because he has the place in uproar and is always joking around but is always serious about his work.”

On average Robson, voted Player of the Year by Middlesbrough Supporters for the 2011/12 campaign, has hit the target once every 4.86 games throughout a career which also spawned an SPL title and Scottish League Cup.

New team mates Kevin McDonald (9.31), Michael Doyle (15.13) and Ryan Flynn (7.42) will still be asked to contribute more in the opposition’s final third, starting against Coventry City on Friday. But Robson’s presence would allow them to do so without sacrificing their own individual strengths.

“We’re not looking to add other players and yet the job is always to improve the squad and if we can bring in better than what we’ve got then you should do it,” Mowbray said recently.

“At the same time we can’t keep increasing budgets and adding salaries on top of other salaries.

“The phone isn’t ringing for our players at the moment and it is difficult to find a space for any footballer at the club at the moment.”

United, now subject to Salary Cost Management Protocol which pegs expenditure to a percentage of total turnover, must also plot a course through a maze of financial rules and red tape before bolstering Wilson’s options.

“It is the biggest puzzle ever,” owner Kevin McCabe admitted last weekend.