SHEFFIELD UNITED: Chris Porter answers the call when it matters

Happy couple: Danny Wilson celebrates victory over Stevenage with chairman Kevin McCabe
Happy couple: Danny Wilson celebrates victory over Stevenage with chairman Kevin McCabe
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HIS lanky gait and languid style might not always endear him to supporters Chris Porter has been described as an instrumental figure in the club’s march to Wembley by Sheffield United manager Danny Wilson

Porter moved United to within 90 minutes of returning to the Championship at the first attempt when he headed home Matthew Lowton’s cross during the closing stages of Monday’s League One play-off semi-final second leg against Stevenage.

Despite spending much of his Bramall Lane career in the shadows, Wilson revealed how the former Derby County striker’s qualities have enabled United to overcome the loss of key names such as Ched Evans, James Beattie and Will Hoskins in recent weeks.

“Chris is very fit and that means we’ve been able to play him on his own up front,” said Wilson.

“You’ve got to do a lot of running in that role and in both games (against Stevenage) Chris has got better as the match has gone on.

“He’s been champing at the bit to play and he took his opportunity very well.”

By his own admission, Porter’s record of a goal every 5.3 games since arriving in South Yorkshire following United’s relegation last term represents a disappointing return for a marksman once coveted by the likes of Cardiff City and Nottingham Forest.

However, there have been extenuating circumstances, with the 28-year-old denied the regular starting role every forward craves due to the form of his colleagues during the regular campaign.

United, who hit the target 92 times en route to their double-header with Stevenage, have adapted their style to accommodate Porter following his recall at MK Dons 25 days ago.

He repaid Wilson’s faith by growing in stature as the match against Gary Smith’s side progressed.

Although his style is not always easy on the eye, Porter’s finish in the 85th minute was simplicity itself.

Just like Lowton’s inch-perfect cross.

There is still room for improvement in Porter’s game, with Stevenage captain Mark Roberts often robbing him of possession - by fair means and foul - during a combative contest at Bramall Lane.

Porter, though, demonstrated good depth of character to persevere and get his reward during the closing stages.

“Matty was great to so I thought it was fitting he got that cross,”

Wilson said.