BILLY SHARP is looking forward to the arrival of new recruits next month as Sheffield United try to remedy a costly habit which is threatening to derail their promotion bid.
The tireless striker often cuts a frustrated figure and he did once more at Portman Road where the Blades failed again to turn a dominant team performance into a win, this time against bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Town.
Manager Chris Wilder who left No2 Alan Knill to face the media after the 1-1 draw, has made no secret of his hopes to sign a quality striker and an attacking midfielder in a bid to plug the gaps.
Everton 21-year-old Kieran Dowell, loaned to Nottingham Forest last season, is believed to be a target. The midfield player who has played in only two cup matches for the Toffees this season, is reported to have turned down a loan invite from Rangers boss Steven Gerrard in the hope of joining an ambitious English club.
Sharp, United’s top marksman scored his 13th goal of the season early in the second half to cancel the Tractor Boys surprise 38th-minute lead. He told local paper The Star: “Whoever comes in has got to be capable of improving us. We've already got a really good group but the gaffer has spoken about bringing some new faces in.
“That’s what will be happening elsewhere, which is why we're looking to strengthen as well. We've put ourselves in a good position and it's important we look to build on that.”
Delivery from wide areas is a concern and Sharp’s strike partners have been far from convincing in front of goal when opportunities arrive. David McGoldrick is the best of the bunch with six goals. Leon Clarke, last season’s 19-goal top scorer, has struggled to rediscover his form, scoring just twice. Conor Washington has yet to get off the mark after 11 appearances, three of them starts.
To illustrate the problem up front, after Sharp and McGoldrick, midfield player Mark Duffy and defender Chris Basham are next on the scoring chart with three each.
Knill said: “We're looking to do some business to make us stronger and to try and bring even more out of the really good group we've already got here. We think that will lift the levels even higher and we're working hard to try and get the right ones in.”
The draw in Suffolk saw United slip to sixth in the Championship table having amassed 38 points at the halfway stage, ten behind leaders Leeds United and nine from Norwich City who occupy the second automatic promotion birth.
The players will report late on Christmas Day for a training session before Boxing Day’s live televised showdown at Bramall Lane with Frank Lampard’s Derby County. The Rams are fifth in the table having a point more.