Sheffield United: ‘Don’t panic’, insists Blades striker Higdon

Michael Higdon
Michael Higdon
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Striker Michael Higdon has urged Sheffield United’s supporters not to panic following Saturday’s opening-day defeat to Bristol City, insisting: ‘We will get it right’.

Higdon was one of four debutants in manager Nigel Clough’s starting eleven, and scored a 32rd-minute headed equaliser to cancel out Aaron Wilbraham’s opener.

But Higdon’s debut, which also saw him captain a side with an average age of below 25, was soured by Wade Elliott’s winner - which handed Steve Cotterill’s City their first win at Bramall Lane in almost 60 years.

Higdon, who scored 14 goals last season as NEC Nijmegen were relegated from the Dutch Eredivisie, only joining United a week ago after a summer of training alone.

But after impressing Clough with his attitude and application in training, he was handed a surprise start and admitted: “I was a bit taken aback, especially with being handed the captaincy.

“I’d had a decent week in training and the manager obviously thought I was up to speed, or he wouldn’t have thrown me in.

“He showed a lot of faith in me to bring me to the club, and even more to hand me the armband.

“You can’t ask much more from a debut than to play 90 minutes, skipper the side and get a goal but, obviously, the result was disappointing.

“It was my first game in 10 or 11 weeks, and you can’t expect miracles from day one - even Lionel Messi would probably struggle.

“But we have to stick at it.

“I have got great belief in these boys and there is a lot of quality in there, so we will be okay.

“With five or six debutants on the pitch, it’s not easy and everyone is not going to gel straightaway.

“All we ask is for the fans to be patient - we have got the quality, and we will get it right.”

Higdon is expected to sit out tomorrow’s Capital One Cup first round tie, which sees Mansfield Town visit Bramall Lane.

Michael Doyle and Neill Collins, who were both on the bench against Bristol, could be handed a chance to impress against the League Two side, but James Wallace is again expected to miss out as he continues his comeback from a groin injury.

“We’ll try and get James some training, but Wednesday may be too soon for him,” Clough said.

“We’ll see how he is by the end of the week, ahead of Coventry on Saturday.

“But we won’t rush him back - we’ve got nine months of the season to go yet, and we’ll give him as long as necessary to get right.”