Sheffield United: '˜We've got the best goalkeepers in the division'Â
George Baldock believes Sheffield United possess one of the best goalkeeping departments in the Championship following Dean Henderson's move to Bramall Lane.
The England under-21 international is expected to make his ninth appearance of the season this weekendÂ when Chris Wilder's side host Preston North End.
With the United manager choosing to sign Henderson rather than renew Jamal Blackman's loan from Chelsea, Baldock said: "We have been fortunate to have two really good '˜keepers over the last two years.
"That is not even mentioning Simon Moore, who is a fantastic '˜keeper at this level. So that's three really, really good '˜keepers. "We have competition all over the field and goalkeeper is definitely one of them. That's brilliant to have."
More key saves:
Henderson, on-loan from Manchester United, embellished his reputation by making a series of key saves during Wednesday's draw with Birmingham City and Baldock added: "Sometimes, when a 'keeper is on form like Hendo, then you need that. When the chances come along, the 'keeper is massively important. He made a couple of great blocks for us."
Up to sixth:
United climbed to sixth in the table following their stalemate with City and, after another busy summer in the transfer market, Baldock is convinced are now better equipped to challenge for the play-offs after going close last term.
Although they eventually finished 10th, Wilder's side entered the penultimate match of the campaign chasing a top six finish. Preston, their next opponents, were responsible for ending those hopes with a 1-0 win in South Yorkshire.
Assessing United's progress since, Baldock said: "It is great to be in the play-offs. The main thing is not to get too high when we win or too low when things don't go for us.
"We have to stay level-headed. This is a long season and there are another 38 games to go. There will be a lot of highs and lows along the way, plus plenty of things in between.
"But if we stay level-headed, go about our business, then hopefully we will be there or thereabouts."
"That is the Championship," he continued. "Anything can happen. But I do definitely feel we are better equipped this season. "We have 22 or 23 players who can all step in and do a job. The gaffer has recruited brilliantly in terms of players being able to come in if someone does need a rest or is injured. Players can now step in without us losing anything as a team. It is like a straight swap."
Better than last season:
Despite suffering a frustrating night against City, Baldock insisted the result demonstrated United are becoming more adept at grinding-out results; a quality both he and Wilder have cited as crucial if they are to mount another push for promotion.
"Potentially, that is a game we could have lost last season," the defender said. "We feel to have that resilience when things maybe aren't going the team's way. One thing we have looked at is keeping more clean sheets and limiting the chances.
"Sometimes, you need that little bit of luck and against Birmingham, when we weren't at our best, we got that."
Cause for concern:
Speaking immediately after the meeting with Garry Monk's side, Wilder once again expressed concerns about a fixture schedule he claims has placed United at a disadvantage in the race for Premier League football. With Preston facing Leeds on Tuesday, Alex Neil's side have enjoyed 24 hours longer to prepare. It is a pattern, much to Wilder's annoyance, which is set to be repeated throughout the campaign.
"Preston do have 24 hours on us but we don't think about that," Baldock said. "The staff here are on top of the recovery, so that shouldn't be a problem. We made a few changes against Birmingham so now we just see what the gaffer does on Saturday."