Blades midfield pairing urged to adopt selfish approach

SHEFFIELD United midfielders Kevin McDonald and Michael Doyle have been challenged to find the net against Hartlepool United today by manager Danny Wilson.

Neither player has scored for the Blades this season although Wilson is happy with their blossoming relationship in the centre of the park.

“They are getting there as a pair but I have told them one thing I do want is more goals,” said Wilson. “I want them to be more selfish in front of goal.

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“Individually, they are both very capable football players. Michael is first class at fetching and giving it, Kevin is excellent on the ball. The two have really clicked and are working hard to get an understanding going.”

Such has been the form of the pair that Blades captain Nick Montgomery has been unable to get in the side for the last five games.

Inevitably, Montgomery’s future is the subject of speculation but Wilson insists the 30-year-old is not rocking the boat.

“Nick is the consummate professional,” he said. “He understands the situation and has been very supportive to the group as a whole.”

Striker James Beattie, meanwhile, could make his first start for the Blades in over three years today after returning as substitute in the midweek victory over Notts County.

Former England international Beattie is on a short-term deal at Bramall Lane after being released by Scottish club Rangers last summer, but is short of match fitness.

Wilson said: “At the moment, we are looking at him as an impact player whether starting a game or coming off the bench and he could get his chance this weekend.

“He gave us a real lift when he came on against Notts County. Maybe not because of the impact he was able to make on the pitch but because of the feelgood factor he sent around the ground.

“He was applauded when he was warming-up and it gave the lads a real lift when he got onto the pitch. But he’s not here to get a round of applause, he is here to help us win football matches.

“We brought him in for footballing reasons and that is the priority. He is not here as a PR exercise,” stressed Wilson. “If we can get him back to fitness, and he gets that kind of support from the crowd, it will rub off on the the rest of the lads and be a great positive.”

Beattie could start in the absence of the suspended Richard Cresswell. Wilson, meanwhile, confirmed that there have been no talks at this stage about extending his stay beyond January.