Steve vows to bounce back

I'll return the favour: 'The lads dug me out of a hole against Walsall and I'll do the same for them during the season', says Blades keeper Steve Simonsen
I'll return the favour: 'The lads dug me out of a hole against Walsall and I'll do the same for them during the season', says Blades keeper Steve Simonsen
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STEVE Simonsen has thanked his Sheffield United team mates for bailing him out of a sticky predicament this week.

The likeable goalkeeper accepts he should have done better for the two sloppy goals Danny Wilson’s side conceded in the second half against Walsall.

But, much to the relief of Simonsen, United fought back from 2-0 down to secure their third win on the bounce in League One following goals from Matt Lowton, Lee Williamson and a penalty from Richard Cresswell.

Now Simonsen has vowed to make up for his errors when the joint leaders travel to Birkenhead to take on Tranmere Rovers tomorrow.

He said: “The goals were disappointing; I am the first one to throw my hands up when something has gone wrong.

“I am experienced enough to know that these things happen in football. The pleasing thing is that although I made a mistake, the lads dug me out of it and I will do the same for them in the season.”

He added: “We looked at the goals on DVD for an hour yesterday to see how we can improve in those types of situations. At the end of the day, we won the game and those mistakes didn’t matter.”

Number one shot-stopper Simonsen will be targeting a third clean sheet in five outings at the club where he started his career. He went on to make 42 senior appearances at Rovers before a big money transfer to Everton, who, incidentally, United lock horns with at Goodison Park next Wednesday in the second round of the Carling Cup.

Simonsen is relishing the prospect of seeing a few old faces at his former clubs, admitting: “I am looking forward to those matches. I still live in that area so it will be good to go back there.

“On Merseyside, Tranmere are seen as the little club and everybody wants them to do well.”

It is no secret Wilson wants to improve his promotion-chasing squad before the transfer window shuts on August 31.

As exclusively revealed in The Star last month, Wilson wanted to re-sign Elian Parrino from Argentinian club Estudiantes de la Plata and completed his transfer yesterday. The versatile defender, who made nine appearances, including eight starts on loan at United during January and February last season, has agreed a one-year deal at Bramall Lane.

Parrino said: “I’m really happy to be back. I want to play in England because I enjoyed it here last season - the stadiums, facilities and fans are fantastic.

“It was about three weeks ago when I heard that there was a chance to come back and I made it known that’s what I wanted.

“I didn’t play so much last year, but my time with United certainly helped me become a better player and hopefully the fans will get to see that. I’m better now physically, mentally and technically.”

Of all the areas in his team, Wilson has refused to alter his back four in the opening four matches and the Blades chief is unlikely to hand Parrino a start at Rovers, who suffered a 3-2 loss at Notts County on Tuesday to slip to sixth in the division.

Simonsen commented: “It is going well (at the back) at the moment. We have got a good mix of youth and experience.

“Neill (Collins) and I are the elder statesmen of the group but the rest of the lads have been fantastic. They are learning all the time and there is no better place to learn than from playing matches on the pitch.”

South Shields-born Simonsen hailed the supporters contribution in the stunning come-from-behind victory over Walsall, saying: “They are fantastic. Even if we were to fall out of the league for whatever reason, they would still be there supporting us.

“We have had between 16-18,000 fans in the two home games so the support is superb. They have really responded to the style that we are trying to adopt under Danny (Wilson).”

Expectations have risen on the Red side of the city following United’s encouraging start to life in the third tier of English football.

But Simonsen warned: “There is still a lot of hard work to be done to make things better. We are not the finished article and there is a long way to go.

“We have to keep making sure we put the hard work in and look to build on the three games we have played so far. There are 43 games to go so we will keep on building until it is good enough.”


The Teams

TRANMERE ROVERS (possible): Fon Williams; Kay, Goodison, McChrystal, Buchanan; Devaney, Welsh, Weir, Bakayogo, Robinson, Showumni. (4-4-1-1)

UNITED (possible): Simonsen; Lowton, Collins, Maguire, Jean-Francois; Mendez-Laing, Montgomery, McDonald or Williamson, Quinn; Slew or Porter, Cresswell (4-4-2).

The Referee

ANDY WOOLMER (Northamptonshire): Promoted to the National List of referees in 2004, Woolmer’s major appointments include the Community Shield. Woolmer took charge of Sheffield United’s 2-1 home defeat to Middlesbrough in April, cautioning four players including Shane Lowry and Joe Mattock.