Questions have been raised all season; who should partner Sharp? What if Sharp gets injured? Furthermore, there has been cries for United to sign a striker in January, with this ‘guaranteeing promotion’. However, I believe that the solution, or solutions, are already within the club. With Caolan Lavery’s return to full fitness and the recall of Marc McNulty, I think The Blades have enough in the strikers department to win promotion.
Lavery in recent weeks has shown his capabilities. A tidy finish against Swindon, 2 assists at Bury, and a goal and an assist at Southend capped a good few for the young striker.
Arguably he is exactly the type of striker that will suit United’s current style of play . Chris Wilder’s team pride themselves on their ability to knock the ball around in the midfield areas and either cut defences with balls in behind, or to overload the box with crosses. This will suit Lavery as his yard of pace, link up touches and instinctive nature in the box have been critical in the past few weeks. Moreover, he is tenacious and aggressive, with a desire to work hard off the ball. He is of the Matt Done mould, with a little more class in the box. His finishing looks to be tidy and competent, with him displaying ‘fox in the box’ like qualities. I think the time is now or him to fill the void alongside Sharp as his regular partner, something I believe will see Lavery quite easily hit double figures before the season is out.
Also, the recall of Marc McNulty is one I would consider wise. Under Nigel Clough, McNulty became one of United’s biggest goal threats and was instrumental in propelling League One United to the League Cup semifinal. He will be a positive addition to the Blades bench, a role he was also forced to serve under Clough. He may be crucial in adding some late goals that will add up at the end of the season.
Although it is proven McNulty can score goals at this level, many questions have been raised as to McNulty’s attitude and his lack of prolificy in his recent spell at Bradford. However, it is my belief that his goal scoring ability, if man managed well by Chris Wilder, could make McNulty almost like a new signing. Wilder prides his team’s on a strong group ethic, and I don’t not believe he would have recalled McNulty if he believed that this would be affected. The side has a great spirit and togetherness about it at the moment, and is what has arguably driven the team. I don’t think Wilder would be daft enough to alter that at this stage. If he can bring McNulty to the level of performance he has with Coutts and Freeman, he could be a very wise addition.
Therefore I would assert that with these two, in addition to Clarke and Done, there are now 4 strikers, all of whom add different qualities, fighting for a place alongside Sharp. And it is exactly this sort of depth of quality and competition, mixed with the hard work and team ethic Wilder breeds, that could be enough to pull United over the line this season.
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