Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, is demanding more goals from other members of his team after insisting Bramall Lane's strikers must not shoulder the burden of firing them up the Championship alone.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow's game against Bristol City, which could see United reach the top of the table, Wilder revealed he expects all of Bramall Lane's first team squad to contribute in the final third.
Highlighting how Mark Duffy, Oliver Norwood and Jack O'Connell have responded to the challenge in recent weeks, Wilder said: "We need a certain amount from the lads up top but we need the others to chip in as well. We're creating chances, which is a good thing, so I'm not really bothered who puts the ball in the back of the net.
"But one of the things we've highlighted, looking at the previous season, is improving the returns right across the pitch. Yes, the strikers have obviously got to do their jobs. But the rest of the boys, from back to midfield, need to get more as well."
Norwood and O'Connell were both on target during the 4-1 victory over Aston Villa, which saw United enter the international break two points behind leaders Leeds. Mark Duffy also found the back of the net as Wilder's men brushed aside the visitors from the Midlands. It was the 32-year-old's second in as many games.
"We've asked Duff to do more and so we're delighted to see him get two in two," Wilder continued. "Jack is off the mark now as well so the good thing is we're spreading the goals around. What we want now is to see Flecky (John Fleck) and the others chip in with a few. But what I don't agree with, and what some people call for, is asking the lads to start taking pot shots from 40 yards or whatever. We work the ball patiently around the opposition's area. I trust the lads to assess situations and make the right decisions."
United's attacking options at Ashton Gate have been boosted by Leon Clarke's return from injury. Although the centre-forward is still searching for his first goal since last season's visit to Ashton Gate, Wilder insisted: "Leon is contributing at the moment in other ways. Obviously, that wait is part and parcel of being a striker. They'll tell you how, when one comes along, others quickly follow. In fact, they'll be able to tell you more about it than an old full-back like me."