Sheffield United strikers just need a little spark

Marc McNulty celebrates scoring against Chesterfield at the end of the league season
Marc McNulty celebrates scoring against Chesterfield at the end of the league season
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Ever since the end of the last campaign, it has been assumed that, this coming season, would see a new striker head for Bramall Lane.

The belief among many is that the lack of goals coming from the frontmen contributed to what turned out to be a hugely disappointing season, from the respect Sheffield United failed to gain promotion.

So, to that end, some said the forward line needed changing.

It does, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be done with the introduction of new faces.

United have goalscorers in their squad. Marc McNulty, Matty Done, Jamie Murphy, Che Adams...all capable of finding the net on a regular basis.

Michael Higdon hasn’t shown it in a United shirt but his record elsewhere shows he has ability if he’s fit and not suspended.

One of the problems the team had last year, however, was that there was a slightly cautious approach to it; too often there was something missing, a little skill or guile.

Not enough chances were being created and some of the frontmen, McNulty in particular bore the brunt of that frustration, having been dragged in and out of the team. Would a consistent place in the starting XI have given the Scot more confidence and bettered his form? You can’t say for definite but there’s a decent case to argue.

If Nigel Adkins can find from somewhere that almost mythical 20-goal-a-season striker that every team craves, then the problem is all but solved.

But it doesn’t have to be the be all and end all.

Perhaps a spark is all that is needed to increase the goal tally among the forwards.

That spark may need to come from further down the pitch, with a bit more creativity needed from the midfield. Or maybe a tweak in the style of play will galvanise those players already at the club.

Indeed, maybe, the manager himself can ignite a player whose form is not necessarily indicitive of his potential. And that goes from the back to the front.

Adkins realised that point himself when he said: “You look at Jermaine Beckford, for example.

“I took Jermaine Beckford to Scunthorpe when he was at Leeds and things weren’t quite working for him and you manage to get him on the goal trail and enjoy his football.

“I know Simon Grayson has done a great job with him at Leeds and at Preston.

“It just shows that one player might suit a certain football club or a certain manager and maybe not another football club and another manager.”

Coach Chris Morgan said this week, they probably need a striker.

It wouldn’t be a disaster if they didn’t get one.

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