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Opinion: Sheffield United’s new strike force could be key to promotion

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Sheffield United are seemingly poised to make a return to the Sky Bet Championship in 2017, following an impressive start to this season.

Chris Wilder’s side are currently top of the League One table and lead third-placed Bolton Wanderers by nine points, as the season enters February, opening up a huge gap for this time of year.

The Blades are the league’s joint top scorers, finding the net 57 times so far this season and look a fearsome outfit in an attacking sense particularly.

Despite this, Wilder looked for a new striking option during the January transfer window, eventually landing Bradford City’s James Hanson.

Hanson had been a key part to Bradford’s side for the past seven seasons, including helping them to promotion from League Two and a League Cup final against Swansea City in 2013, so he has previous in high-pressure situations indeed.

The 29-year old made the switch across Yorkshire late on in the transfer window, and the striker could be key to the Blades’ promotion push.

Hanson, who signed a two-year deal at Bramall Lane, made his debut for his new club on Saturday, in a 4-0 victory over AFC Wimbledon.

The striker partnered Blades’ captain Billy Sharp in attack, to offer Wilder’s side a ‘big man, little man’ strike force.

United’s new attacking line up worked, with Sharp scoring his 19th goal of the campaign after just two minutes and Hanson adding a second shortly afterwards.

The latter also played a part in John Fleck’s second-half strike, rounding off an impressive debut in the red and white of Sheffield United.

While Sharp will continue to be one of Wilder’s first names on the team sheet, Hanson offers his manager a different option in attack.

At well over six-foot, he certainly gives the Blades the option to be more direct with their play. Wilder commented on the day Hanson signed: “James gives us something different and we believe there is more to come from him.

“We’ve seen a lot of him over the years and he is a very difficult striker to play against.”

It is unlikely Hanson will ever replace Sharp in a starting line-up for United, but he will complement the captain’s poaching instincts, similar to the relationship he struck up with Nahki Wells at Bradford.

If the Blades are to make a return to the Championship for the first time since 2011, new signing James Hanson’s partnership with Sharp could be key.

Sheffield United fans… Do you believe Hanson will be key to your club’s promotion hopes in 2017? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! 


Alfie is a journalist based in Yorkshire with years of experience covering the EFL. A current focus on Huddersfield Town and their fortunes back in the Championship, but out and about at as many games as possible. Covered Leeds United during their promotion-winning season in 2019/20.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Sheffield United’s new strike force could be key to promotion

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