Goals Key to Promotion
Former Stoke City and Manchester United defender Danny Higginbotham says that a prolific goal-scorer is the key to promotion.
Last season the Blades were beaten in the Play-Offs by eventual winners Yeovil Town after missing out on automatic promotion. Despite being beaten in just nine league games last season (compared to Doncaster Rovers who won the league and lost 12 matches) they accumulated just 19 victors (25 for Rovers) and a whopping 18 draws (9). During which the Blades kept a club record breaking 21 clean sheets but only managed 56 league goals all season.
United also had a great record at conceding goals, the opposition only shipped in 42 goals but failed to score more at the other end cost the Blades dearly in the automatic promotion stakes.
“Basically, we just didn’t score enough,” said Higginbotham. “And ultimately that cost us. There were times when we didn’t play badly. In fact, we actually played pretty well and didn’t come away with all three points. In a competition of such small margins, you can’t afford to do that and it all caught up in the end.”
“It’s not just down to the lads up front though. Everyone, all of us, should have contributed more. Because, if that’s the case, then you’ve got to make sure those (goals) are spread around. That’s something we’ve got to work on and look at. But people shouldn’t be fooled into thinking there aren’t some good players here.”
This was largely due to the injury to Shaun Miller who may be back for the new season and Nick Blackman being sold to Reading, leaving Dave Kitson the Blades only leading marksman to rely on. Higginbotham joined on a free transfer from Stoke City in January with the aim of helping United regain their Championship status after dropping into League One in 2011.
He added “Sheffield United are a big club, a really big club (editor, but not massive!), I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to have been in some great dressing rooms and this is one of them. Now I’m just looking forward to getting back into pre-season training and giving it another go.”
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