POWER and poise were among the qualities which earned him a move to Bramall Lane, but Sam Vokes knows he will be judged on one thing and one thing alone. Goals.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers striker, who joined Sheffield United on a short-term loan before Tuesday’s draw with Reading, is confident he can deliver after being identified as the player capable of ending Micky Adams’ search for a prolific striker.
Tomorrow Vokes enjoys an early opportunity to endear himself to his new club’s fans.
United’s visit to fellow strugglers Crystal Palace will not decide the outcome of this season’s scramble for Championship survival. But it does have the potential to shape the rest of the campaign.
“I’m really pleased to be here,” Vokes, who is scheduled to spend the next three weeks with Adams’ side, said last night. “It’s great chance for me to get some games and play for a big club like United.
“It’s been a bit of a nightmare for me since August. I went out to Bristol (City) and did my hamstring within minutes of coming on which kept me out until Christmas. But I’ve done the work on it and now it feels fine.”
Standing over 6ft tall and weighing 14st 3lb, Vokes provides United with the type of option they have lacked since Darius Henderson was diagnosed with a serious Achilles complaint. Given their perilous predicament towards the foot of the table, Vokes is under pressure to make an immediate impact.
“I think I’m a typical centre-forward, a targetman really,” he said. “I like to try and work the channels but, to be honest, I’m really here to do whatever I can to help the team. I’ll try and do whatever the gaffer asks of me.”
Vokes, who impressed United’s scouts during a recent reserve team fixture against West Bromwich Albion, had initially been expected to arrive at Shirecliffe yesterday but his temporary transfer was rushed through when Ched Evans was taken ill before the game against Brian McDermott’s team.
Both Wales internationals, the two men have impressed together at under-21 and senior level for the principality. Vokes, a member of squad beaten 3-0 by the Republic of Ireland earlier this month, hopes they can recreate that partnership in South Yorkshire.
“Ched’s a big strong lad and he’s got good pace.
“ It seemed to work well when he was playing off me.
“We nearly qualified for the Euros together with the under-21’s.
“That worked well.
“But I already know a few of the others here too from around and about at places like Leeds.”
Vokes, who has won 16 caps for his adopted country, is expected to return to Molineux following United’s derby with their rivals from Elland Road. But he said: “If everything goes well and it’s possible then I’d be delighted to stay for longer.”
The 21-year-old enjoyed a whirlwind start to life with United.
“I only came up here on the morning of the match. So I hadn’t trained with the lads and only got introduced to them all in the dressing room beforehand,” he said. “The first time I ever stepped out with them was on the pitch.”
Meanwhile, a United legends team including Bob Booker, Georges Santos, Tony Agana, Adrian Littlejohn, Carl Bradshaw and Paul Shaw face a BBC Sheffield All-Star team at Sheffield FC on Sunday (kick-off 2pm) in aid of supporter Karl Darby who suffers from Myoclonic Epilepsy.
The 44-year-old, who is confined to a wheelchair, can not stay with his parents because of the steep stairs leading to their house. Money raised will be used to complete building work around the property to fit a donated lift.
Keith Edwards, Lee Butler, Mark Smith and actors including Lee Otway, William Snape and Junade Khan will appear for the Sheffield XI. Entry is £3 adults and £1 concessions.
“Karl is a very dedicated supporter who rarely missed a game,” Dave McCarthy, United’s head of operations, said.