Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder believes his team must score at least 75 goals this season or risk spending another season in League One.
But, speaking ahead of Saturday’s game against Port Vale at Bramall Lane, the 48-year-old admitted he “does not care” if any of his centre-forwards fail to claim 20 or more so long as that target is reached.
Challenging United’s midfielders to start easing the burden on Matt Done and last term’s leading goalscorer Billy Sharp, Wilder said: “We have to look at a group of forwards to get us 75 goals.
“Not just the forwards, we want goals from all over the pitch. But the bulk of the goals will come from those boys at the top of the pitch.
“I don’t care how the goals get shared around, the biggest thing you can say is Billy got 20 goals last season and the club ended up 11th in the division.”
Wilder, who took charge of United when Nigel Adkins was sacked in May, was disappointed that last weekend’s meeting with Walsall was postponed after watching his players take 17 points from their last seven League One fixtures.
But he did concede, following Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy tie against Jon Whitney’s side, that coaching staff used the international break to coax strikers Caolan Lavery and Leon Clarle closer to fitness after both were recently diagnosed with ankle injuries.
Their absence has prevented Wilder from rotating his attacking options of late although Sharp, who has netted five times in his last 11 appearances, was rested for the Group H clash.
Lavery, previously of Sheffield Wednesday, is expected to be available for selection when United resume their push for a top two place.
“I don’t think Billy would be gutted if he didn’t reach 20 goals,” Wilder said. “The main thing is we reach a target of goals between us a football club which gives us great chance of getting out of the division.”
Meanwhile, United’s Harry Chapman, Louis Reed and Aaron Ramsdale will report back to Bramall Lane later this week after being selected to represent England at youth level.