Matt Done, the Sheffield United striker, could be set for an extended run in his favoured striker position, assistant manager Alan Knill has hinted.
Done, the former Rochdale man, was initially utilised on the wing in the opening games of the Knill and Chris Wilder era at Bramall Lane.
The 28-year-old was subsequently dropped for the trip to Millwall before an injury to Leon Clarke, and their first clear week on the training ground since the season began, saw Done restored to the starting line-up against Oxford - where he set up strike partner Billy Sharp’s equaliser in an overdue 2-1 victory.
And, speaking ahead of tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy tie against Leicester City’s U23 side, Knill said: “Winning is a great feeling, but sometimes when you do it papers over the cracks a little. And when you lose, you perhaps look at things more deeply - sometimes too deeply.
“But the week after the Millwall game, before the Oxford game, taught us a hell of a lot and we’re in a good position now to move forward.
“We decided that we want to stretch teams more and more, and Matty is ideal for that really.
“As I say, we find out things in the week or whatever and what we found was that he’s not a left winger, a right winger or someone who plays behind the strikers.
“He’s a striker. He’s a big threat to teams when he plays up top and if we asked the player, he’d probably rather play there, too.
“He got his chance against Oxford and we thought he was excellent, a big threat for us at the top of the pitch.”
With Wilder obliged to field at least five recognised players in the much-maligned competition, formerly known as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, Done may once again get the chance to cement a strikers’ berth after helping United to their first win of the season against the U’s.
“We’re in a better position now,” Knill added.
“We thought performances were good, to be honest, and we weren’t overpowered by any team but that’s football. Sometimes, you find yourself down on the canvas and you’ve got to get up, dust yourself off and start fighting.
“What impressed me was the fight; we went behind and the first thing we did was fight. We played some good stuff and put in good performances, too, but we kept going and the rewards came.
“We showed that fight and when you have that, you’ve got every chance.”
Knill was also full of praise for United’s supporters on Saturday - labelling them “something else” - with over 18,000 home fans roaring their side to a victory which took them out of the bottom four.
It’ll be a different story tonight, however, with many Blades fans vowing to boycott the first Checkatrade Trophy fixture against the young Foxes.
Most supporters will instead pay more attention to the following day’s transfer deadline, with Wilder still in the hunt for a centre-half.
A move for Wigan’s Craig Morgan broke down last week, but Wilder may resurrect his interest in Millwall’s Byron Webster after suggestions the defender is keen to return north.
Reports yesterday also linked United with David Buchanan, the 30-year-old Northampton Town left-back who worked under Wilder at Sixfields.
“We’ve identified a number of positions where we’d like to strengthen,” Knill added.
“That hasn’t changed since we came in, and it’s about finding the personnel for those positions.
“We’re hopeful that by Wednesday, we’ll have done some business.”