It is no exaggeration to say that last Saturday’s performance against Port Vale was the best any Sheffield United team has produced since the 2011/12 season, when we had a certain 35-goal striker and players of the class of Kevin MacDonald, Stephen Quinn, Lee Williamson, Harry Maguire and Matt Lowton.
It’s no surprise that those five on now playing in the Championship and above, and maybe some of them would still have been with us were it not for something outside the club’s control one Friday afternoon in April. You don’t need telling what that was.
I don’t think anyone in the current squad is quite at the same level of any of the aforementioned, but the important thing is that they are looking like a team in which the players know what they’re supposed to be doing, which happened rarely, if at all, last season and not often enough the season before. And to win 4-0 without Billy Sharp or Matt Done scoring was even more impressive.
But then Billy got two at Shrewsbury Town and Daniel Lafferty was also on target. A few weeks ago Chris Wilder asked for 75 goals, knowing that two players are not going to get 60 of them. Around half those goals will have to come from non-strikers and non-regulars.
Ethan Ebanks-Landell is getting his share and now the full-backs have one goal each. But the midfield is where the shortfall must be made up.
Mark Duffy has two and Chris Basham has one but they and Paul Coutts and John Fleck will have to contribute more during the season. At least Coutts is shooting at goal now. That is something he never used to do. Or not much anyway.
In 2011/12, Lowton got six from right back, Maguire one, MacDonald three and Quinn four. Williamson was outstanding in the goalscoring department, with 13.
It is doubtful any of the current midfielders could approach that figure but six or eight each shouldn’t be beyond them should it?