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Paddy Kenny identifies key areas Sheffield United need to strengthen during January transfer window

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Ex-Sheffield United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny has picked out his former side’s defence, holding midfield and wing areas as three areas they will need to improve in their quest for promotion, speaking to Football Insider.

The Blades have been noticeably underwhelming during the 2021/22 campaign so far, getting off to the worst possible start as they failed to win any of their opening five league games and have failed to gain any form of consistency since then.

Their late summer recruitment could arguably count as one reason why they began their season so poorly, only managing to bring in centre-back Ben Davies in on loan despite John Lundstram’s departure leaving a sizeable hole in the South Yorkshire outfit’s midfield.

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Thankfully for manager Slavisa Jokanovic, Morgan Gibbs-White, Conor Hourihane and Robin Olsen all arrived in the final couple of days of the previous window to address key areas and also moved to recruit experienced veteran Adlene Guedioura in September.

Despite the impact of Gibbs-White and the initial bounce they received from these additions after the first international break, Jokanovic’s men have still struggled to get into the promotion mix as they currently find themselves 16th.

Former Blades shot-stopper Kenny believes there’s plenty of work to be done in the winter window, claiming that they will only achieve a top-six finish this term if they back the Serbian.

Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “In the end, it was a bit of a rush in the summer window.

“I’d like to think that when he joined in the summer, he’ll have been given assurances that he’ll get what he needs. It’s time to act on that now.

“Having watched Sheffield United, a holding midfielder is definitely needed. The defence needs some help because they’ve conceded too many easy goals.

“In terms of wingers, I can definitely see why he’s after a couple in January.

“They’ve played McBurnie out wide at times. It’s frustrating because you’re begging them to get the ball to McBurnie in the box. That’s why he’s there.

“If they are going to have a chance of getting the play-offs, they need to back the manager.”

The Verdict:

With Guedioura likely to be out until next year and Gibbs-White operating high up the field, there is certainly the case for bringing in a defensive midfield, especially if Sander Berge leaves.

However, they currently have John Fleck, Oliver Norwood, Conor Hourihane and Berge as options in that area as things stand, so this is probably the lowest priority out of the three they need to address.

With Jack Robinson coming back to join Chris Basham, John Egan and Ben Davies in defence, you could also say this is much lower down on their priorities than recruiting wingers, although their inability to keep clean sheets must be a source of concern for officials at Bramall Lane.

Bringing in advanced wide men is a must though – and it was a surprise to see them not recruit one in the previous window considering Jokanovic’s change of system and the amount of time they had to ensure they addressed this priority.

The addition of a winger or two would give them a different dimension going forward, something they will need with their current defensive record to be able to win games.

Getting this business done early would be ideal – because as Kenny has said – they left their business to the last minute in the summer.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Paddy Kenny identifies key areas Sheffield United need to strengthen during January transfer window

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