'Leon Clarke will score goals' insists Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder after backing Blades striker

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Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has backed Leon Clarke to rediscover the goalscoring touch that saw him bag 19 for the Blades last season.

The experienced striker finished as United’s leading marksman last season after a superb campaign in front of goal, but has so far failed to hit the target in four games this campaign.

Clarke, who scored four goals when United last faced Hull City at home, endured a frustrating evening on Tuesday night against the Tigers in the Carabao Cup defeat but Wilder, pointing out Clarke’s start to last season, believes the 33-year-old will come good.

Clarke failed to find the net in his first five games of the 2017/18 campaign before getting up and running with a brace in the memorable 4-2 win over his former club Sheffield Wednesday in September, and Wilder said: “All we can do is keep going and knocing on the door. It’ll happen and we will score.

“We saw it with Leon last season... he scored a couple in one game and was up and running.

“All you can say at the minute is that he gets in the positions to score, and keeps going. You saw it with Billy Sharp, when he scored his first of the season at QPR; his confidence improved.

“There are a couple not quite up to speed but they will get there, and when Leon gets one he’ll go on a run like he did last year.”

Clarke was foiled well by Tigers ‘keeper David Marshall on Tuesday, who also made a superb stop to deny Enda Stevens a winner. Stevens also had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside.

“The good thing,” Wilder added, “is that we’ve created tons of chances and played in a way I really enjoyed watching.

“We changed the shape and controlled the game.

Leon Clarke

Leon Clarke

“As I say, Leon maybe needs a goal to get up and running and we’ve seen that with Billy. David McGoldrick scored at the weekend at QPR and if we bring another striker in before the dealdine, we have to have genuine competition at the top of the pitch.

“Once again, we looked a decent side. Both sides made changes but we pushed and probed and had chances flash across the face of goal. We’ll keep going with that and see where it takes us.”