Sheffield United legend Paddy Kenny believes his old side needs two wingers and a forward in the January window in their quest to achieve an instant return to the Premier League, speaking in an interview with Football Insider.
The Blades have been on a good run of form since the last international break, winning 13 points from a possible 15 and with this, finding themselves within four points of the play-off zone with two games in hand over sixth-placed Huddersfield Town.
Though their fortunes will rightly be put down to their style of play and change in formation after a slow start to the 2021/22 campaign, the quality and depth in their squad has also played a big part in their ability to revive their system with many capable options able to come off the bench.
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A classic example of this would be Morgan Gibbs-White being replaced by £22m signing Sander Berge at the break against league leaders Fulham last Monday evening, with the Norwegian putting in an admirable performance in the Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee’s absence.
However, there are areas of the pitch where they are lacking an adequate amount of depth, leaving them vulnerable if they were to lose multiple players to injuries, suspensions and/or Covid cases.
The wing department is one example of a position they have very few options in, a problem that proved to be detrimental to ex-boss Slavisa Jokanovic trying to adopt his 4-2-3-1 system, and though a change in formation has arguably made addressing his area less of a necessity, ex-Blade Kenny believes they should be targeting two wingers.
However, he also wants to see a player arrive in a position where the South Yorkshire outfit are already well-stocked, saying to Football Insider: “It sounds like Heckingbottom will be backed.
“That’s what we need if we are going to push towards those play-off spots.
“I think we need a couple of wingers. We have been lacking in that area for a while in my opinion.
“I think another exciting striker also needs to come in. We need our own Mitrovic to make sure we are challenging at the top of the table.
“I know that and I’m sure Heckingbottom knows that as well. We are a lot better at the back under him.
“So it’s the attack we need to have a look at. If we want to be up there we need a 15 or 20 goal striker.”
You can see where Kenny is coming from on this one, because a winger or two would majorly help to give them a different option going forward if they wanted to switch their formation, whether that be before a match or during.
The addition of a top goalscorer may also help with Oli McBurnie misfiring, Lys Mousett’s injury concerns and Rhian Brewster remaining out with an injury. However, on paper, they have enough goals in that department to thrive.
The one position that does need to be addressed more than any else though is their central defence, because although Jack Robinson stepped in extremely well for the absent Ben Davies at Craven Cottage, one or two more injuries in that position would have left them in deep trouble.
Potential promotion rivals West Bromwich Albion have already shown how badly a couple of injuries in central defence can affect plans when operating with a back three, so this is an area they desperately need to address.
They will also need to monitor departures to see whether they need replacements to come in – but the key next month will be the approach they take to transfers. They need to be proactive if they want to get deals over the line.