Worthy has little envy of Blades' numbers

PUBLISHED: 06:50 17 March 2006 | UPDATED: 09:17 14 September 2010

CHRIS WISE

Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock will have a multitude of options to mull over when he picks his front-line for tomorrow's clash at Carrow Road - and Nigel Worthington is not sure whether he envies him or not.

Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock will have a multitude of options to mull over when he picks his front-line for tomorrow's clash at Carrow Road - and Nigel Worthington is not sure whether he envies him or not.

The Norwich City boss was once quoted as saying that a club can never have too many strikers on the books. But he accepts now that too many cooks can spoil the broth and will be interested to see how his opposite number keeps SEVEN proven goal scorers happy between now and the end of the season.

Warnock already had plenty of firepower at his disposal going into the January transfer window, with the likes of Neil Shipperley, Danny Webber and Steve Kabba having helped the Yorkshire outfit into a commanding position in the race for automatic promotion to the Premiership.

But the colourful Blades boss decided he still needed more strikers and promptly signed another four, with veterans Brian Deane and Bruce Dyer arriving on free transfers, ex-Canary Ade Akinbiyi for a cool £1.75m and Geoff Horsfield, another vastly experienced performer, on loan from West Bromwich Albion.

Since that mass influx things haven't gone so well for Warnock's side. Rumours are rife that all is not well in the Blades' dressing room following the recent upheaval - and results haven't gone well either, with a dismal run of just one win in seven giving every encouragement to fellow promotion chasers Leeds and Watford.

Worthington has no idea if the two are connected, but he is clearly surprised by the number of strikers on the Bramall Lane books at present.

"They have got a few," he said. "I don't know whether Neil was trying to break a record for signing strikers - or whether he was signing them so other teams couldn't.

"Sometimes it can be to the detriment of other players who got you in that position.

"It's a case of making sure everyone is within touching distance of that first team because sometimes you can have too many.

"If you have got seven or eight strikers and you have got two on the field and two on the bench then how are the others going to feel?

"It's a fine line. But it's up to each individual manager and football club - it's a personal thing. Neil obviously thinks he needs them. He has gone out to add experience and strength to the squad as far as numbers are concerned to see him through the season."

Warnock got round a potential problem last weekend by naming six of his strikers in his 16-man squad for the game at Coventry. Akinbiyi, Shipperley and Webber all started the game, while Kabba, Dyer and Horsfield were on the bench, but even with that awesome firepower his side still failed to find the back of the net in a hugely disappointing 2-0 defeat.

With Warnock rarely naming a substitute goalkeeper, Worthington is expecting a similarly attacking approach at Carrow Road - and knows it will be a tough game for his side.

"They have got a wealth experience in there," he said. "As I said, they have signed a lot of players over the course of the season and they have got good quality in there. That's why they are in the top two.

"After that we are fully focused on our own performance and our own result.

"I'm not paying any attention to their recent form - because dodgy runs have always got to come to an end at some time. We have just got to make sure it doesn't happen on Saturday."

Worthington clearly had no intention of becoming involved in a war of words with the ever talkative Warnock ahead of tomorrow's big game.

When asked for his thoughts on the Sheffield United boss he replied, quick as a flash: "Next question, please!"

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