Chris Wilder is confident of making another breakthrough in the transfer market ahead of this weekend's game against Norwich City after revealing the lengths Sheffield United are going to in order to bolster his attacking options.
New signing Oliver Norwood produced a man-of-the-match performance during last night's Carabao Cup tie against Hull City, despite missing from the spot as Nigel Adkins' side progressed 5-4 on penalties.
Wilder, who described the midfielder's performance as "exceptional", has identified Middlesbrough's Marvin Johnson as a potential loan target while United's are also reported to have resurrected their interest in Aston Villa centre-forward Scott Hogan.
"I'm not going to comment on names," Wilder said. "I'm not going to talk about those but we're hopeful one will come in for the weekend. We're still waiting for a striker. I'm spending three to four hours on the phone when I should be preparing for a game, putting the question to clubs and seeing what's possible. The people higher up here are doing the same thing and asking the same questions as well."
Despite those distractions and his disappointment at the result, Wilder insisted his players had been unfortunate to exit the competition at the first round stage. Jon Toral fired City in front before substitute Billy Sharp equalised after the break. The visitors survived a furious onslaught during the closing stages but went through when Norwood, making his debut 24 hours after arriving from Brighton and Hove Albion, fired over the bar during the shoot-out.
"The best player on the pitch missed a penalty but that shouldn't overshadow what he did out there," Wilder said. "He's got something, you can see his quality. He wants the ball and will compliment how we play. He helped us dictate the game and, at the end, we were the team who really looked like they wanted to win."
"The best team lost as far as I'm concerned," Wilder added. "Second-half, they were the team who was hanging on and waiting for the referee to blow his whistle. We changed it around and they couldn't live with us but, credit to them, they made some great blocks."
Adkins, Wilder's predecessor at Bramall Lane, resisted the temptation to crow after securing his second win over United since being sacked two years ago.
"Listen, it didn't work out for me here and that was a shame," he said. "But Chrissy Wilder has done a brilliant job. It's a passionate club with passionate support and I'm delighted to see them back in the Championship doing well."
Despite his efforts to strengthen United's frontline, Wilder insisted United's search should not be taken as a slight on Leon Clarke and Sharp, whose memorable finish cancelled-out Toral's opener. United's captain has now scored two goals in as many games after also hitting the target against Queens Park Rangers last weekend.
"We just want four quality strikers, that's all," Wilder said. "Billy showed the quality he's got with that finish and Ben Woodburn, who made his first start for us, also showed real glimpses of what he's got. You can see he's going to be a big player for us. Okay, people will say Leon missed a few chances but he's score one, he'll put one away, and then he'll be off and running just like he was last season. I've got no doubts about that."