O’Halloran ups Blades pace

Michael O'Halloran, Bolton Wanderers
Michael O'Halloran, Bolton Wanderers

Michael O’Halloran’s deadline-beating signing by Sheffield United stands to give Danny Wilson the one missing ingredient in a strong squad.

Wilson returns to former club Hartlepool on Saturday in the belief that all his bases are covered after the young Bolton striker’s loan move to the Lane.

O’Halloran, pictured, who can also play wide, was due to be involved for the first time in last night’s home game with Chesterfield, which was played after the Telegraph went to press.

United’s only obvious shortcoming has been the raw edge of attacking speed that the 21-year-old is equipped to provide. Ched Evans is no slouch despite relying on other attributes for his many goals, while Lee Williamson and Ryan Flynn can motor a bit on the flanks. But it was significant that Wilson referred to O’Halloran’s “blistering pace” in welcoming him to the club. In that regard, the young forward could provide an attractive early-ball outlet for midfield playmaker Kevin McDonald, whose timely return coincided with a spectacular 5-2 win at Notts County.

Hartlepool will be no less challenging than any other fixture, even though Neale Cooper’s side have lost nine of their 19 home games. One thing that might be in the Blades favour, though, is that Cooper favours a footballing style.

Given an open game, United should have the form, quality and confidence to profit - backed by a strong away following. And it cannot be overlooked that Wilson’s side have a healthy advantage on city rivals Wednesday in terms of goal difference, which could be worth a priceless point in the final reckoning.

But they are very closely matched in that department with both Huddersfield and MK Dons, making the size of victories a not insignificant factor in the run-in. The Blades still face a visit to MK but otherwise have a run-in that looks favourable. Bournemouth, Leyton Orient and Stevenage visit the Lane in between trips to Rochdale and Exeter.