Sheffield United: Top priority for new manager

Date:26th December 2012.'Sheffield United v Scunthorpe. Pictured Sheffield United's Shaun Miller, celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the match.
Date:26th December 2012.'Sheffield United v Scunthorpe. Pictured Sheffield United's Shaun Miller, celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the match.
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The first priority for Sheffield United’s next manager will be increasing the attacking firepower at Bramall Lane, sources close to the League One club have confirmed.

Motherwell’s Stuart McCall, Gareth Southgate and Chris Morgan, who took charge on an interim basis last month, are among those interviewed for the role following Danny Wilson’s departure nearly seven weeks ago.

Although the former Northern Ireland international’s successor will enjoy a relatively free hand in the transfer market, recruiting a prolific centre-forward is expected to be the most pressing item on their in-tray.

“The general consensus is that we need to score a lot more goals,” one senior figure told The Star. “It’s plain for everyone to see.

“The person in charge is not going to have an open cheque book or anything like that.

“But, as we found out to our detriment last season, there are people out there who are capable of putting the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis who haven’t cost their respective clubs the earth.

“I don’t think anyone would disagree with the idea that it’s a situation which needs rectifying.”

“It might be through personnel,” they continued. “Or it might be through tweaking things in more subtle ways.

“But everybody is aware of what needs to be done.”

Shaun Miller’s return from injury - the former Crewe Alexandra striker is making steady progress in his battle to overcome a serious knee problem - should improve United’s ability to break down opposition defences.

Miller had scored six times in eight appearances before damaging cruciate ligaments against Scunthorpe on Boxing Day.

United’s meagre returns after that win over Brian Laws’ side - they averaged less than a goal per game throughout their remaining 24 League One fixtures - was a major factor behind their defeat in the play-off semi-finals.

Michael Higdon, who netted 27 in 43 outings for Motherwell last term, would be interested in following McCall to South Yorkshire if the 48-year-old is appointed.

Indeed Higdon has made no attempt to conceal the fact that McCall’s presence will have a crucial bearing on whether he also remains at Fir Park.

“The manager’s future will be a major factor in my own,” he said. “He’s brought success to this club so it’s natural others now want him.”

Nicky Law, Higdon’s former team mate at Motherwell, yesterday completed a transfer to Glasgow Rangers.

The midfielder started his career with United before moving north of the border in 2011.

“I’m delighted and honoured to sign for this great football club,” Law said. “I spoke to a few teams down south but when I met the manager here, my gut feeling told me that this is where I wanted to be.

“I signed for Motherwell two years ago really on the gut feeling that would be the best move for me and I’ve just gone with that again.”

Meanwhile, United’s box office and superstore will not be open on Monday.