After finishing 3rd in league 1 last season and cruelly losing on penalties to Huddersfield Town last season Sheffield United will look to go one step further this coming season. The hurt of last seasons near miss has been all the more harder to bear with the club from S6 pinching 2nd place with 2 games to go last year. Danny Wilson knows that this year maybe even tougher with the loss of Matt Lowton to Aston Villa this summer a big blow.
Last seasons cruel end has been hard to take for many blades this summer, largely due to the fact we were in prime position to finish 2nd and were passed by Sheffield Wednesday after a home draw with Stevenage 2 games from the end of the season. The usual play off final defeat followed on penalties after Steve Simonsen blazed his penalty over the bar.
Danny Wilson has made a couple of moves this summer. He has brought in John Cofie on loan from Manchester United, and also signed a youngster from Crewe by the name of Shaun Miller. These 2 signings are been relied upon to score the goals United will be missing after the demise of Ched Evans. They have also managed to bring in some cover at the back with Tony McMahon, Darryl Westlake and Matt Hill all signing for free.
The biggest signing though could turn out to be Scottish midfielder Kevin McDonald. After one season with United it was thought he would move on after a lengthy delay in signing a new 2 year deal late summer. McDonald was fantastic in the 2nd half of last season, and forged a great partnership with Michael Doyle in the centre of United’s midfield. He missed the play off final with a hamstring injury and having him back this year keeps a very solid spine to the side intact.
The biggest question mark remaining for the club is who will still be around after the transfer window shuts on the 31st of August. Why it doesn’t close before the start of the season is beyond me, but that’s a story for another time. United have already lost Matt Lowton this summer to Aston Villa. The possibility of Stephen Quinn, Nick Montgomery or Harry Maguire leaving will linger on until the window closes. Certainly Monty and Quinn could be moved on due to their perceived high wages. For me though the loss of Harry Maguire would hurt more. At the age of 18 last season he was immense at the heart of the back 4. He and Neil Collins were a rock at the back, playing just about every minute of the season together baring the odd game.
There is no doubt that automatic promotion is the aim this coming season. A few bookmakers have United as the title favourites which given the strength of league 1 this season is fair. If United can keep hold of the squad they have in place now and maybe add another winger or striker to the fold I think top 2 will be a cert. Only the MK Dons could top them with league 1 been allot weaker than last year.