BRYAN ROBSON paid tribute to Sheffield United supporters after last night's dramatic draw with Cardiff City.

Wednesday, 3rd October 2007, 9:43 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd October 2007, 11:04 am

Robson insisted the Bramall Lane crowd played a crucial role in helping his team come from 3-1 down to claim a point with two late strikes.

James Beattie's eighth of the season had fired United in front before goals from Joe Ledley and Gavin Rae, either side of a controversial penalty from Robbie Fowler, threatened to condemn the hosts to a third straight league defeat.

But Chris Armstrong and Chris Morgan both pounced during the closing stages to ensure referee Andy D'Urso's decision to punish United's captain for a supposed trip on Roger Johnson did not have a decisive effect on the outcome.

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Despite again displaying the defensive frailties which have cost them dear this term, United also hinted they are finally coming to terms with the manager's 'pass and move' philosophy.

Yet the draw came at a price with Keith Gillespie the latest player to enter a treatment room which is now full to bursting point.

Robson said: "The lads showed great character, especially after everything that's happened but then so did the fans.

"They knew certain things were going against us and they stuck with us all the way.

"We needed the goals and we needed that too.

"I thought the supporters were superb because it would have been easy to get on our backs.

"But I think they realised they weren't seeing a disjointed performance even though there were mistakes.

"They were an important part of what's happened."

Robson's reign at United has been blighted by a series of injuries to key players and his problems show no signs of abating after it was revealed that Derek Geary will undergo an operation to repair a cartilage problem later today.

The Irish defender, who missed Cardiff's visit, joins Gary Naysmith and Nick Montgomery on the sidelines and is set to miss Saturday's game at Bristol City as a result.

Naysmith and Montgomery must be rated as extremely doubtful for the trip to Ashton Gate while Keith Gillespie is a definite non-starter after limping-off against Cardiff clutching his hamstring.

The situation means Robson will step-up his effort to sign at least two new players on loan.

"I've made a couple of phone calls," he said. "I've always wanted to bring in some new faces to balance up the squad a bit but now it's even more important because of the injuries we are getting.

"Nick went to hospital with his ribs and he's in bed at home now so it's quite serious.

"Derek's problem is long-standing but he needs to get it sorted-out.

"Keith looks like being out for at least a couple of weeks."

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