Chris Wilder is backing Matt Done to rediscover his touch in front of goal ahead of today’s game against MK Dons.
The Sheffield United centre-forward enters the match having failed to hit the target since last month’s victory over Peterborough at Bramall Lane.
Done’s fellow striker Billy Sharp has scored five times, including four in his previous two outings, during that period but Wilder said: “Matt’s goals will come. I’ve got no doubt whatsoever that it will happen for Matty. He’s getting into the right positions and doing that, come what may, is the key.”
Wilder has strengthened his reputation for being a demanding, relentless manager since taking charge of United in May. But, speaking at the club’s training complex on Thursday, he revealed a softer side to his personality after admitting he had been too quick to criticise Done following a miss at Bradford City last weekend. United were leading 1-0 when Done, meeting Mark Duffy’s cross, scooped the ball straight into Colin Doyle’s hands.
Wilder described the miss as a pivotal moment during his post-match press conference. But, having taken time to reflect, he admitted: “Maybe I was a little bit harsh towards him then. I’ve watched it and the ball bounced up a bit. Looking at Matty’s reaction, and talking to him afterwards as we do all the players, he felt he should have scored.
“But, like I said, it probably wasn’t as easy as it looked because of the way the ball kicked-up a little.”
Done, aged 28, remains a key figure in Wilder’s plans because his energy and work-rate allow United to press high up the pitch. But, with Caolan Lavery now recovered from injury, the former Barnsley and Rochdale attacker knows he must begin to translate performances into goals. Lavery, previously of Sheffield Wednesday, has yet to start a game since joining United but made a positive impact during the 3-3 draw at Valley Parade.
“I thought Caolan showed everybody what he’s all about,” Wilder, who team are unbeaten in 10 League One outings, said. “He put himself about and showed-up well. To be honest, though, I don’t mind where the goals come from. So long as we are scoring them. I’ve maintained that all along.”
Dons travel to South Yorkshire without a permanent manager after parting company with Karl Robinson in midweek. Pete Winklelman, the visitors’ chairman, installed Richie Barker as Robinson’s interim successor after revealing the 36-year-old had lost his job after failing to exploit Dons’ “powerhouse” status.
“This year we have got double the wage budget that we had the last time we were in League One, are seriously more powerful than the year we got promoted,” he said. “We are a powerhouse in league one, we have some of the best players in the league, and to match the ambition of the club we have to start moving in the right direction.”