SHEFFIELD UNITED: Blades look to the two Macs

Proud to be a Blade:  Tony McMahon in action against Shrewsbury.                  Picture: martyn harrison
Proud to be a Blade: Tony McMahon in action against Shrewsbury. Picture: martyn harrison
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SAME objective. Different dynamics.

Sheffield United, having opened the new League One season with a win over starry-eyed Shrewsbury Town, now encounter opponents unlikely to be overly-impressed by their formidable reputation.

Coventry City, relegated from the Championship last term, might be seeking to rebuild following a miserable season both on and off the pitch at the Ricoh Arena.

But, after spending the past 12 months entertaining teams such as West Ham and Southampton, Andy Thorn’s squad will not be cowed by the prospect of locking horns with the bookies’ favourites for promotion.

Wilson, speaking immediately after United’s victory over Shrewsbury, conceded he felt an obligation to try and seize the initiative against visitors who, only eight years ago, were competing in the Conference.

Forty-eight hours later, one of the manager’s most recent acquisitions hinted they could adopt a subtly different approach in the Midlands this evening.

“We were expected to win and we did that,” Tony McMahon, the former Middlesbrough defender, said. “So we did our job.

“Okay, we probably didn’t play as well as we would have liked but the most important thing from any game is that you take the three points.”

Shrewsbury, having overcome their initial stage fright, created several gilt-edged chances against Wilson’s men.

Indeed, had either Marvin Morgan or Mark Wright brought their shooting boots, they could have returned to Greenhous Meadow with a draw.

United, though, were also guilty of some profligate finishing with McMahon admitting last night that he had been admonished by Stephen Quinn for opting to shoot rather than square the ball following David McAllister’s strike.

Having grown-up in a footballing hotbed, though, pressure and criticism are something the Bishop Auckland born full-back positively welcomes.

“I could have stayed at Middlesbrough but I want to play and win something,” he said. “There’s no such thing as a bad medal.

“If I can get a League One winners one then I’ll be absolutely delighted.

“I know how passionate people are about their football in Sheffield and that was another reason I came here.

“It’s very like the North-East only, rather than having Boro, Newcastle, Sunderland, Hartlepool and Darlington, you are either red and white or blue and white.”

McMahon’s knowledge of the South Yorkshire scene stems from a previous loan spell with United’s arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday.

Indeed, he was a member of the side which secured a controversial 1-0 victory over his new employers in October 2008 having been recruited by then manager Brian Laws.

“Brian took me there and I’m still in touch with him and Russ Wilcox, who was his assistant, now,” McMahon revealed. “The gaffer here didn’t need to sell United to me one little bit because I’d already seen the type of following they get.

“This club sells itself.

“But when Brian and Russ heard that I might be coming here they both told me that I’d be joining a great club and to definitely go.”

McMahon, who could be joined in United’s starting 11 by Matt Hill (hip) and Ryan Flynn (muscle strain), added: “The lads here have been great and I’ve really settled in because I feel I definitely made the right choice.

“The gaffer here is great too because he encourages you to get the ball down and play on the deck.

“I know Quinny had a go at me against Shrewsbury and, looking back, he was right to do that because I chose the wrong option. But I’ll always try and get forward whenever I can. I like attacking because that’s the way I’ve been brought up to play my football.”

Despite insisting that United “are more than capable of getting out of this division,” McMahon warned Coventry will pose a stern test of their Championship credentials.

“I went there with Boro (in January) and they battered us,” he said. “So I know how difficult it will be because they’ll be expecting to be right up there challenging as well.

“But I imagine they’ll be saying the same about us too.”

Teams and ref

COVENTRY CITY (possible): Murphy, Wood, Clarke, Hussey, Barton, Brown, Kilbane, McSheffrey, Daniels, McDonald, Ball.

SHEFFIELD UNITED (Possible): Howard, McMahon, Maguire, Collins, Williams, McAllister, Doyle, McDonald, Quinn, Blackman, Cofie.

PAUL TIERNEY (Lancashire): Sent-off Burton’s Lee Bell at Rotherham on Saturday. Averaged 2.89 cautions per game last season. Scunthorpe’s Sam Togwell received one of 11 red cards Tierney issued during the 2011/12 campaign at Bramall Lane in February.