SHEFFIELD United captain Michael Doyle backed Tony McMahon to make a major impact at Bramall Lane after watching the former Middlesbrough defender set Danny Wilson’s side on the path to victory over Morecambe.
McMahon, signed to replace Matthew Lowton following the youngster’s move to Aston Villa last month, spread some sunshine across Saturday’s fixture at the Globe Arena with a wonderful first half effort.
Doyle, who watched Joe Ironside double United’s advantage during the dying moments, said: “If I’m honest, I was really surprised when Tony came here so you’ve got to give credit to the club for bringing a player of his calibre in.
“He’s a class act - everyone in football will tell you that - as the goal he scored here goes to show.
“It was disappointing to lose Matty but Tony is as close to him as you are going to get in terms of the way he plays and that’s another big plus.
“It means that, together with his experience, he’ll fit right in straight away.
“Tony won’t have any problems adjusting to how we like to do things.”
Doyle added: “It’s always good to get some new faces in because it keeps everyone fresh and gives those of us who have been here a while a lift.
“And that’s what we’ve done.
“Not only that but they are quality additions too.”
Although McMahon can clearly manipulate a football, he also possesses an abrasive streak and was withdrawn after confronting Kevin Ellison following the Morecambe winger’s ridiculously zealous challenge in front of the dug-outs.
Doyle, never one to shy away from a battle himself, added: “Personally, I think it’s good Tony has got that type of attitude.
“You want people in your team who won’t back down.
“Opponents are going to try and get in our faces when the real stuff starts and we’re got to show them that we won’t be intimidated by that.
“Tony is a competitor as well as an excellent player.”
Jim Bentley, who played over 300 games for the hosts before taking charge in May last year, declared Morecambe was “his life” before Saturday’s contest and his charges demonstrated similar commitment throughout.
Jordan Burrow saw a header hacked away from Mark Howard’s line and Lewis Alessandra swept over from range.
United, though, boast artistry as well as endeavour. A fact McMahon underlined by caressing a delightful finish beyond former Chesterfield goalkeeper Barry Roche after half an hour.
Wilson, who had earlier withdrawn striker John Cofie as a precautionary measure, nodded his head in admiration from the stand.
Roche prevented Stephen Quinn from doubling the visitors’ advantage soon after while Chris Porter prodded wide near half-time.
“I was happy with some things and not so happy with others,” Wilson acknowledged. “We wanted to see if we could press high up the field before the break and at the start the lads didn’t do that.
“But it was a really valuable exercise and there were other things we did really well.
“You can never read too much into friendlies but it was good to see us put in a shift.
“It was really good preparation.”
Porter went close again immediately after the restart with substitutes Ironside and Danny Philliskirk - who had both scored twice against Hallam FC in midweek - combining to prise open Morecambe’s rearguard during the closing stages.
Neither, though, could apply the decisive touch, with Ellison later meeting his match in the equally fiery McMahon before referee Paul Tierney intervened.
Doyle, who later revealed United’s midfield have pledged to try their luck in front of goal when the new League One season begins next weekend, caused Roche’s replacement Andreas Arestidou a moment of panic soon after.
But Ironside made sure Wilson’s team head to Matlock tomorrow still unbeaten in friendly competition this summer with a clinical finish following Quinn’s expertly measured pass.
“It was a really hard-fought match and that was exactly what we wanted,” Doyle said. “Our preparations are coming on well.
“We’re on course and feel in good shape.”
Morecambe: Roche (Arestidou 46), Parrish (Short 82), Haining, Alessandra (Wright 67), Ellison (Mwasile 76), Burrow (Redshaw 67), Drummond, Reid, Williams (McGee 61), Carlton, C Doyle. Not used: Parkinson, G McDonald.
Sheffield United: Howard, McMahon (Ironside 76), Maguire, Hill (Westlake 55), Flynn (McAllister 64), M Doyle, Porter (Philliskirk 76), K McDonald (Harriott 80), Quinn, Collins, Cofie (McFadzean 25). Not used: Long, Cresswell.